Sculpture Park and Gallery, Victoria
Sunday 23 November 2014
you Lyn Williams, for your introduction, and thank you for everything that you
have done and continue to do for the visual arts in Australia. And thank you to your predecessor Penny
Fowler for lining me up some time ago.
For some decent time, it was the only commitment that I had for the
whole of November!
Balnaves, Robert Lindsay, Dr Liz Kreijn, Sculptors, other artists present, McClelland
Gallery trustees, members and supporters, ladies and gentlemen.
would like to acknowledge that we meet on the land of the Kulin Nations and I
pay respects to elders past and present.
is a real honour to be asked to open the 2014 McClelland Sculpture Survey.
behalf of everyone present, I would like to acknowledge and thank McClelland
gallery. This is a special and much-loved place nestled as it is in bush land
between the city, the country and the sea.
It exists because of the vision of its founders, because of the generous
and passionate support from individuals, especially of course, Dame Elisabeth
Murdoch, local, State and Commonwealth government, philanthropic trusts and
corporate partners; and because of its dedicated trustees, staff and
you for helping to create and sustain a truly significant part of the nation’s
cultural infrastructure. Your efforts continue
to provide Australian sculptors with a place to show their work, and be
acknowledged and rewarded through the awards to be announced today.
you make it possible for local residents, Melburnians, Victorians, all Australians
and visitors from overseas to enjoy the best of Australian contemporary
you to the sculptors whose work we are celebrating today. Without your imagination,
talent and skills the sculpture gardens of the world would be beautiful but
sadly empty places.
need to remind ourselves more often of the strenuous effort and physicality
involved in the construction of the more monumental pieces of outdoor
sculpture. The blending of hard labour and selected materials with an artist’s
soul and imagination often requires, perhaps more than in other art form, the
resolution of a host of technical, engineering, spatial, materials and other
issues, let alone display, transport, insurance and OH&S matters. All
difficult, often expensive.
are indeed fortunate that there are creative individuals who have weighed up
the physical and financial risks and have emphatically chosen to express their
creative talents through sculpture. Of
course, not all sculpture requires herculean physical efforts, although the
practical, physical aspect of sculpture is inescapable.
McClelland Sculpture Park is very special because of its outdoor setting.
Moore once said:
‘Sculpture is an art of the open air…I would rather have a piece of my sculpture put in a landscape, almost any landscape, than in, or on, the most beautiful building I know.’
Park is a perfect example of that sentiment. There is something at once respectful, brave
and defiant about solo pieces of outdoor sculpture in public places close to
nature: taking on the elements, making us pause to contemplate the encounter,
to ponder an artists’ intention, to consider an idea, a totem, an object of
beauty, despair, joy or heartbreak.
am truly fortunate to have grown up in such a place, watching the vineyard at
Elgee Park become a place of sculpture and then more gradually observing the vineyard
become the background to a sculpture park.
We are all greatly enriched
by this public place, accessible to all. This wonderful domain, this arcadia, extends
our imagination and it rewards our curiosity. Some of our most talented artists
project onto the landscape great shafts of creative and artistic energy. Since
2003, the number of permanent sculptures in the grounds has quadrupled with now
112 major works on permanent display.
We are shortly to have a
decent dollop of curiosity rewarded when we learn about the winners of this
The artists, including young
emerging, mid-career and established artists, working in a variety of styles
and mediums give the McClelland Sculpture Survey its very special importance. I
would like to acknowledge their contribution and thank the 33 participating
artists for their superb professionalism and imagination in the creation of the
works in this exciting exhibition. An
important aspect of the McClelland Sculpture Survey exhibition, giving a
valuable cross-section of contemporary sculpture practice, is that application
to participate in the exhibition is open to all. And open to all materials.
As you follow the trail to
see the works, you will find beautifully sited works made from fibreglass and
aluminium, basalt and gold, marble and glass and shopping trolleys, cor-ten,
mild and stainless steel, electrical wire and bitumen, gravel,paint and
glycerine, iron dust, concrete, carbon fibre, bronze and water and colour-bond
sheeting, sandstone and sound, ceramics, electronics and plantforms,
wind-chimes and copper, and quite a few more.
The vision of this gallery,
the visibility that it gives to artists, the opportunities that it provides to
audiences and its amplification of our community’s creative voices form part of
the culturally ambitious nation that the Australia Council seeks to reflect and
support. These artists and this Gallery join others in that quest.
It now gives me great
pleasure to officially open the 2014 Mc McClelland Sculpture Survey.
Rupert Myer AM
Chair, Australia Council for