WA pair split beach sculpture prize

STEPHEN BEVIS ARTS EDITOR
A fan takes in Norton Flavel's Lucky Country at Sculpture by the Sea. Picture by Paul Kane/Getty Images
A fan takes in Norton Flavel's Lucky Country at Sculpture by the Sea. Picture by Paul Kane/Getty Images

Two WA artists have shared the main prize at Sculpture by the Sea with an oversized symbol of Australia's convict past and a set of charcoal faces emerging from a burned log.

Norton Flavel and Kim Perrier will share the $10,000 Western Australian Sculptor Scholarship, announced at the opening of Sculpture by the Sea at Cottesloe this morning.

The scholarship is to be used for travel, study and the advancement of their careers. Flavel and Perrier also are invited to show their works at Sculpture by the Sea in Bondi in October.

Judges Michael Hill, from the National Art School, Tunbridge Gallery director Julienne Penny and Edith Cowan University senior art lecturer Nien Schwarz said both works were standouts and deserved to be acknowledged so they decided to share the award.

Flavel, who created the giant inflatable wine bag Bulk Carrier last year, shared the spoils with his 4m-tall gravity defying work called Lucky Country.

The "floating" stainless steel ball is linked by a heavy chain to enormous leg irons planted in the sand.

"The work references the Australian psyche, the tension between positives and negatives and what we choose to see," Flavel says.

Perrier's technically stunning and mystical work Ashes to Ashes reveals a set of faces and torsos in the charred innards of a eucalyptus stump.

Perrier said it celebrated the relationship between trees and humanity, the tree becoming the vessel for the transmigration of soul.

"It is a sentient being dwelling in three worlds - a link between heaven, earth and underground," he said.

Exhibition director David Handley said the works by Flavel and Perrier were ambitious, exciting and wonderful additions to the show.

This is the second successive year the scholarship for WA artists has been split.

Another WA artist, Tim Macfarlane Reid, was inducted into the Decade Club for having exhibited at the event 10 times.

Opening the event, Culture and the Arts Minister John Day said the WA Government would renew its support of the free two-week exhibition until 2017 through Tourism WA.

Sculpture by the Sea is on show until March 23.