A Sculptural Essay of Australian Icons
Bunbury Regional Gallery 6 Sept to 3 Nov 2013
The concept for my proposed body of work is found within our Australian Culture. Exploring and constructing perceived Australian Icons has been an element of my ongoing practice for some time now, and will be the focus of the body of work I am proposing for Bunbury Regional Galleries.
I see Australia as a country seeking its own cultural identity. Europe has such wonderful icons as the Madonna and Child or St Anthony holding the baby Jesus, whereas it is ironic that one of our greatest visual icons is Nolan’s Ned Kelly. We lack the traditions of Europe, built over thousands of years, and in our early ignorance missed the opportunity of building upon the rich indigenous culture of our land. Desperate at times, we have collated a handful of perceived Australian Icons; a combination of popular imagery and stereotypes which have come to be largely accepted as figureheads of Australian Culture, to which we cling, despite our contemporary multi-cultural world dismissing their relevance.
It is these icons, with their wry reflections of us that I enjoy representing back to Australian viewers. Through my three dimensional pieces, they are invited to reflect on the truth of such icons, both historically and currently.
Thus the exhibition will include historic icons such as the ‘Tradie’ with his choc milk and fag for smoko ‘, and the ‘C.W.A’ lady with her blue rinse hair and plate of scones, through to more contemporary icons such as the ‘Tin Man’ fly in fly out worker with his heart of gold and chrome finish who is rusting from the feet up, the ‘Hooded Youth’ with his hunched attitude and I.Phone, and the ‘Policeman’ (peace keeper) with his utility belt bristling with weapons.
It is only from reflecting upon the iconography of our time that we can gain the clarity to construct the icons of the future.
My pieces are hand built using a leathered hard clay armature as the internal structure, which is then finished and detailed. Due to the large sizes, each piece is fired in two parts that then lock together without a visible join.
The completed pieces stand between 1mtr and 1.4 metres high and will be finished with a cold glaze.