The Lorne Sculpture Biennale closed on March 30th, so this post is a little slow in coming! It has been a busy couple of months (curating exhibitions, etc) so it has taken me a while to organise my thoughts and reflect on the exhibition.
The show has three categories – the Sculpture Trail featuring large works along the beach front, the Small Sculpture Show, and SculptureScape featuring temporary works made in situ by twenty artists over the four weekends of the show. I participated in the SculptureScape section on the opening weekend of the show, and also attended the closing weekend, so saw nine ScuptureScape works.
The SculptureScape category is intended to be interactive, with Biennale visitors, and anyone else spending a day in Lorne, being able to observe the creative practice of the maker, ask questions, and in some instances participate in the creative process. The Lorne Scuplture Biennale is currently the only “sculpture trail’ type show with this type of category.
Peter Burke’s Ban the Biennale invited public participation by asking people to create placards with questions or statements intended to generate discussion about what art actually is. Signs such “How can Art change the World” and “Where is the Plinth” were installed around the lone protester (Peter Burke) tent, where he sat to give the public ‘information’. When he wasn’t in his tent he was riding a tricycle around the town broadcasting questions and statements taken from the placards through a megaphone. By the end of the weekend his tent was surrounded by a sea of placards of all sizes and colours and asking lots of questions about the meaning of art. As a project it was very successful with people eagerly wanting to make a placard and write something radical. Though many people would have joined in because of the seeming disobedience the project, it did promote a discussion about art amongst people who may not have given these concepts much consideration beforehand.
Urban Debris was an installation of three large forms resembling tree branches made from plastic drink bottles and supermarket plastic bags, created in situ by Kate Gorman. Currently her art practice involves investigating a range of materials that enable her to explore human perceptions of landscape and nature. Gorman’s use of plastic bags and bottles on the Lorne foreshore highlights the impact our modern throw-away society has on the ocean and coastal environment.
Slightly removed from the beach, along the treed walkway between the swing bridge and the camping ground, passersby could help Forest Keegel create Hyperventilate, a temporary installation of used paper bags. Keegel collected used paper bags during the year leading up to the Biennale which she scrunches and twists into organic forms representing an array of living organisms. She views the paper bag as the ideal material to communicate her environmental message – the tree is cut down, paper pulp is made, through a high energy high water process the paper bag is made, the bag is transported to its destination, it is used usually only once, then discarded. In Keegel’s words:
- “a discardable husk, a plain wrapper masquerading as an environmentally responsible choice…”
Keegel installed her collected paper bags in colonies along tree branches and crevices, an infection of self devourment. Although she had been collecting paper bags over a period of time, Keegel needed more and asked passersby to donate any paper bags they had (take away food-ironically fulfilling the masquerading environmental choice) and scrunch them into organic forms that were added to the artwork as it evolved. AND Forest was the winner within this category – I must say it was one of my favourite works!
The front lawns of the Uniting Church were temporarily transformed into a sea of colour by Anthony Sawrey with his work Level Check. Trained as a painter Sawrey found studio art too limiting at times and has been recently creating large outdoor works using organic line marking fluid and an industrial spray pump, an artform he calls Environmental Painting. The end result of this grassy intervention certainly stopped early Autumn Lorne visitors in their tracks!
Back on the beach Amanda Hills was creating Discomedusa, an installation that asks the question:
- “In order to survive the advances in technology how must we adapt to our rapidly changing environment?”
Hills uses the jellyfish as a metaphor to address this question. Jellyfish live in a constant flux, being washed up onto the shore, then being reclaimed by the sea. The jellyfish Hills creates, however, are in the shape of peta bottle bases and other consumerist throwaway objects. So, in order to survive advances in technology we must morph and become more like it?
A short stroll away Laine Hogarty was installing Line in the Sand with the help of volunteering spectators. Like much of her artwork, Line in the Sand is constructed from recycled materials used to highlight themes of sustainability and repurposing. Comprised of plastic shopping bags filled with sand and installed as a boundary line, the artwork literally drew a line in the sound, thereby raising awareness regarding the use of plastics and their impact on the natural environment.
Next along the beach trail was Roman Liebach’s Still Nature. Unlike many of the other SculptureScape projects Liebach’s artwork was much more formal in construction and composition, and not ephemeral. Fascinated by concepts of the natural world VS the human world VS the industrial world, Liebach made the artwork off site and installed it on the day. While his sculptural installation explored themes similar to the other participating artists, it was less successful as it lacked the dynamics captured by making an artwork onsite and allowing the public interaction offered by the sculturescape concept.
Wandering back along the pathway between the swing bridge and the camping ground Maria Simonelli’s Reclaim emerged subtly from amongst the natural bushland. Reclaim is a double edged sword, seeking to ‘reclaim’ everyday objects to create new aesthetic forms whilst also ‘reclaiming’ traditional womens’ craft. Repurposed doilies and crocheted pieces hugged the organic flow of tree branches, while small LED lights and candles cast soft shadows creating a sensually tactile sensory environment.
AND, of course (self plug) I participated in this category…. and my artwork also examines issues related to climate change and the environment…. I won’t go into here – you can check out what I did in my previous blog post 🙂 But here’s a little pic!
PS- the results of my pit firing are available for sale!
Overall, it would seem the SculptureScape category artists were largely concerned with themes of climate change, sustainability, the impact of technology and recycling. These themes are, of course, very suited to the ephemeral nature of the SculptureScape concept. Being framed within an ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ paradigm serves to also emphasis the already successful message being communicated by most of the artists.
***** ALERT!!***** After writing this review I found that the dozens of photos I took of this category have ‘mysteriously’ disapperard??!! Only a few are left-And I had some great pics 🙁
So, normally there would be a slideshow or photo gallery of ALL the works I saw …. but not today – trust me I am as *&^%$ as you 🙁
This reminds me of firing rake. What joy!