‘Sculpture on the Edge’ at Bermagui (part one)…


(above) Hanna Hoyne’s Soulsearchanaut About to be Born.

The Gang was on the headland at Bermagui yesterday morning to witness the opening of the third annual ‘Sculpture on the Edge’ event – and it was definitely worth the early morning start and drive. (We’re going to have to get used to the distances we now need to travel just to get our regular culture fix!)

‘Sculpture on the Edge’, brain-child of co-ordinator Jan Ireland, has had a most interesting beginning of the bête noir variety; it’s been positively dogged by contention. In the inaugural year Richard Moffat’s piece (a huge metal knot) attracted great ire from members of the local community who pronounced it ‘a big unsightly turd’. [Megsie’s sorry she missed it!!] Which, of course, was merely the classic rote reaction to contemporary art out on the conservative country fringe… 

The second year brought even more hysteria when a work by Greg Taylor, ‘If The Boots Don’t Fit’, had a life-size bronze of Johnny Howard in full AIF (WWI) rig standing on gormless guard against terrorism at the Horseshoe Bay beach. (See http://www.abc.net.au/illawarra/stories/s1904152.htm) It was Dad’s Army personified – absolutely bloody marvellous – and sooo Johnny. Anyway, the local council got the vapours and banned the work from public site (sic) – completely disregarding the fact that the artist had gifted it to the local community, which, by all accounts, was dead keen to keep it. (Mind you, that bayonet would’ve posed no end of OH&S grief…)

There are them-what-might regard such tribulations as a blight. But let’s face it, genuine controversy in the arts lends a certain cachet that can’t be bought for love nor money. Jan Ireland and her ‘Sculpture at the Edge’, ergo, is off to a propitious start – especially if the event remains edgy enough to attract ongoing critical debate. Fingers crossed.

‘Sculpture on the Edge’ is a two-part affair, run in tandem with Bermagui’s Seaside Fair. Large sculptures are planted on the headland, small works are exhibited in the Community Hall. To avoid unwieldiness we’ll break our coverage into two posts, starting with the former…

This year’s entries were a mixed bag – everything from farm forge-ery to out-of-towner sophistry. Our stand-out picks were John Ramsey’s Fishing Floats, Amanda Stuart’s Bush Pack, Hoon Hoyne’s Soulsearchanaut (a clear crowd favourite) and Mark Frith’s Pulp Friction. And we loved the deck chair. And the utter freakiness of Rachel Bowak’s Container in the Bermi setting – now there’s an artwork that’ll have the mob at the bowling club muttering into their iced vo-vos.

Pulp Friction, of course, was a protest work (against woodchipping) which doubled as a handy performance piece – Mark unhooked the bike and front trailer and rode the ensemble through town in Saturday’s Seaside Fair Parade. He reckons he’s not an artist, but used the event as a protest opportunity. We beg to differ – he’s a classic ‘outsider artist’ if ever there was one. 

There was a swag of ‘Berra-buggers down for the show, taking advantage of the Canberra Day long weekend. And plenty of familiar work.

Check it out on…


And ArtWranglers has a terrific profile of the event at…


But wait, there’s more…


5 thoughts on “‘Sculpture on the Edge’ at Bermagui (part one)…

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  3. Pingback: A bit of Hoon action in Sydders… « glass central canberra

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