Sculpture Survey 2014
Gomboc Gallery Sculpture Park
REVIEW LAETITIA WILSON
One of the oldest private galleries in WA, Gomboc Gallery Sculpture Park, has held an annual Sculpture Survey for more than 30 years. This year the gallery and surrounding terrain feature works from invited Japanese artist Haruyuki Uchida, Tasmanian artist-in-residence Marcus Tatton and students and alumni from Curtin and Edith Cowan universities.
The attraction and repulsion of magnets forms the basis of Uchida's works. The smooth surfaces of polished steel, occasionally painted red, combine in curvilinear and hard-edged forms. In several pieces the familiar static nature of such materials is disrupted and they gently oscillate from side to side or hover in improbable ways.
This kinetic quality adds dynamism to the works and invests them with a point of interest that pushes them beyond being static minimalist abstractions. The work Different Space is like a contemporary metronome, pulsing from side to side in a state of infinite motion.
Works by Uchida displayed on the wall play with the material qualities of steel and some demonstrate the pull of magnetism behind glass. In the pieces Fe-1 and Fe-2, shards of metal appear suspended in perpetual tension, forming patterns of hard but also soft and fuzzy-looking material.
In an adjoining room, Curtin alumnus Ayad Alqaragholli presents a series of bronze sculptures of male figures with a whimsical look about them. They are poised with suitcases or piled up with chairs and dogs. Their bodies are elongated, giving them an elasticity and fluidity.
A sculptural installation emerges from the floor of this room. A collaboration between Graeme Burge and Norton Flavell, the work Breath is a screaming face of steel that has seemingly pushed through the clay that cracks around it. It is described as "a reference to breaking through, the struggle for life" but it could just as easily be a reflection on the artistic process.
The land surrounding the gallery is dotted with a number of artworks - those there on a permanent basis and those of students and the resident artist. While the student works can be applauded for using found and recycled materials, some look at odds with the land on which they are placed - such as televisions and mute speakers wedged within trees - while others look flimsy in the selection of materials.
By contrast, a cow sculpted from found materials by Jeannette Vernooij could persist, with pieces of machinery, chains, tools, utensils and nails welded together to lend an accurate likeness (as well as brutish strangeness) to the animal.
The sculptures by Tatton, the artist in residence, are some of the strongest on show. One titled Accumulation is a wheelbarrow piled high with wood referencing the over-consumption of forest resources. Another is chopped wood compacted with mud to unfurl from the ground as frond forms.
Overall, the range of sculptures spans from minimal abstraction to figuration and contemporary installation. As a sculpture survey it achieves a good balance between invited, established and emergent artists.
Sculpture Survey 2014 is at Gomboc Gallery Sculpture Park, 50 James Road, Middle Swan, until June 29.