Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Artist Studios - 5

I visited the Christchurch studio of leading New Zealand contemporary artist and prominent sculptor, Bing Dawe yesterday. It’s always a delight to see his multiple works in various stages of development – from wall sketches, plans and drawings through to finished works and parts thereof. I fell in love with this fat Canada goose, which is half of a two-part sculpture called “Make Way,” which is concerned with the clearing of South Island land for dairy farms. The Canada goose was introduced to New Zealand in the 1920s and has flourished to the point of becoming a pest. They now compete for pasture. Throughout his 30 year-plus career, Bing’s work has reflected his political and environmental concerns and flora and fauna have been consistent among his themes and inspirations. He’s drawn to the underdog – the geese, shags, eels – creatures that are “Never Much Loved” (the title of recent series). Apart from showing a series of drawings called “Divine Rights” in “Artists For Save Our Water” at Christchurch’s Ng Gallery, June 3-30, Bing is just back from installing his latest public commission in Havelock North town centre, in Hawkes Bay. Entitled “From the Draining – Diminishing Returns” it features a series of bronze eels on top of three 1.6 metre hoops.

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