Sculpture on the Edge 2016…

10 03 2016

The Gang took advantage of a glorious (post)summer’s day to hightail it to Bermagui yesterday for our annual Sculpture on the Edge fix. And what a sweet day it was; sun, sea, lunch and Gulaga with a side serve of sculpture. Perfeck.

In terms of muscle, Sculpture on the Edge is clearly overshadowed by Sculpture by the Sea (now grown into a wondrous behemoth straddling Sydney/Perth/Denmark) and innumerable spin-offs from the same. But it would be a gross disservice to make unfavourable comparisons on that account. SOTE simply doesn’t have the demographic and monetary clout/support that underpins the plethora of prominent, flourishing events and can’t possibly compete with the status game that drives national sculptural pageantry. And it doesn’t seek to. What Sculpture on the Edge does have is of far greater importance; it has heart and zeal and vision (albeit localised.) It’s the classic ‘little engine that could’.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the event, a decade long&hard haul by initiator and prime mover Jan Ireland and her intrepid band of helpers (entirely voluntary, including Jan herself.) In anyone’s language it’s modestly sponsored (though obviously all due respect to Patrons Phillip Cox and Janet Hawley for stumping up the acquisitive prize and prestigious support from the get-go.) The Bega Valley Shire Council clambered aboard last year with the $10,000 acquisitive public art prize (for how long is not clear) but other awards are arguably less of a cost to the various sponsors than an outlay on a swish pair of new shoes. And $1000 from local juggernaut Bega Cheese comes across as somewhat shy of generous (you can write it off your tax, people!)

This being so, the greatest challenge for SOTE is the ability to attract and sustain a critical mass of entries given (a) the cost, to the artists, of shipping (particularly the large) works to the relative isolation of the Far South Coast and (b) the lure of greater kudos and lucre at the more pumped and aggrandized events. Thankfully for Bermagui those tidal (career)shifts are balanced by a core group of artists (both local and regional NSW/ACT) who do maintain an ongoing involvement, ensuring quality and diversity of the field regardless of number. Consequently SOTE is a little gem of a gig and totally in synch with its setting. (If the Burghers of Bega and Bermagui are looking for more bang, they’re going to have to put up a lot more buck and not necessarily only in prizes; the back-end, ie the organisation of the event, needs to be given, at the very least, some appropriate base funding.)

Anyways, enough of the soap-boxing. We had a lovely day of what never fails to be an entertaining engagement. It was great to see Richard Moffatt back in the swim – and hard to dismiss the wisdom of the judges awarding him the gong. His piece, The Giving Tree, hits a strikingly simpatico chord and can’t fail to be universally popular (apparently towns across the Shire are already squabbling over who should have it!) Congrats to Richard…


Richard Moffat, The Giving Tree

Richard Moffatt, The Giving Tree, steel

Okay, so from here on in we’re not going to show all the works, just the ones we liked the most (which we assure all and sundry is no reflection/judgement whatsoever on any of the pieces left out. We’re merely posting stuff that took our fancy/charmed us personally.)

In the small sculpture show:

Michael Snape’s always cool…


Michael Snape, Bowl 17

Michael Snape, Bowl 17, stainless steel

…we love Jimmy Rix, big time…


Jimmy Rix, First Signs of Spring

Jimmy Rix, First Signs of Spring, steel, copper, paint

…the winner of the Janet Shirley Walker Environmental Award…

Louise Pratt. Temptation

Louise Pratt, Temptation, coal, resin, gold leaf

…cute bird biz…

Linda Davey, Curly Oyster Catchers

Linda Davey, Curly Oyster Catchers, ceramic steel

…and, of course, we’ve gotta love this one (cos Megsie made it!)…

Megan Bottari, Teleo(phonic)morph: Channelling Sal (long distance call)

Megan Bottari, Teleo(phonic)morph: Channelling Sal (long distance call), lost wax cast crystal, found object

…and what’s not to love about Barak Zelig’s work…

Barak Zelig, Big Shot...

Barak Zelig, Big Shot, plastic, metal, fabric

Barak Zelig, Little Betty

Barak Zelig, Little Betty, plastic, metal, fabric

…we can’t resist a pat…

Gunther Kopietz, Howling Dog

Gunther Kopietz, Howling Dog, timber

…and we’re suckers for bunnies…

Victoria Nelson, Reclining Bunny

Victoria Nelson, Reclining Bunny, Carrara marble

…and a weave…

Sharon Stevens, Bower 1,2,3

Sharon Stevens, Bower 1, 2, 3, stainless steel, copper

And then there was the Main Event: the big stuff…

More kanga biz…

Jimmy Rix, Roo Shooter

Jimmy Rix, Roo Shooter, welded corten steel

Jimmy Rix, I Still Call Australia Home

Jimmy Rix, I Still Call Australia Home, welded cortex steel

…and this tickled our fancy (could’ve been entitled Rocky Hall!)…

Rowan Dixon, Stoned Again

Rowan Dixon, Stoned Again, granite, metal

…as did the peculiar…

Sian Watson, Drongo (Sitting)

Sian Watson, Drongo (Sitting), stained fabric, wire, steel, cotton, horse hair

Sian Watson, Drongo, (Standing)

Sian Watson, Drongo (Standing), stained fabric, wire, steel, cotton, horse hair

…the weird…

Steven Harrison, we are such stuff as dreams are made of

Steven Harrison, We are such stuff as dreams are made of, wood, plaster coated with Aquablock

…and the curiously elegant…

Barak Zelig, Shaping the Landscape

Barak Zelig, Shaping the Landscape, steel

Well worth the outing – catch it while you can (and choose your own favourites.)

Wraps up on Monday 14th March (closing event: Community Picnic and Fire Festival from 5-8pm Sunday 13th up on the Endeavour Point Headland.)

Bird biz…

13 11 2015

…at Mister Jones tomorrow…


BIrd Show-1


Dear Friends of Mister Jones Espresso,

We’d love to see you at Mister Jones this Saturday, November 14, for the opening of Bird Show; a group exhibition of avian art objects and drawings, curated by Matt.

Flock to Bunga Street for drinks with the artists from 5pm.

We hope you can make it!

The Mister Jones Team.


More here.

Sculpture on the Edge 2015…

24 03 2015

The Gang bestirred ourselves a couple of Tuesdays ago and headed to Bermagui for our annual kultural trifecta – sculpture, fish’n chips and gelati – aka Sculpture on the Edge. We’d managed to miss the skirmish of the opening, courtesy of a clashing commitment, and have to admit we weren’t overburdened by any regret to speak of (we’ve outgrown the pull of the brouhaha, thankfully.) And it’s nice to be able to contemplate the field without the constant interruptive chat.

We did, however, run into Jan Ireland (whose brainchild the event is) so all the requisite boxes were happily ticked. Jan does a fabulous job with SOTE against a torrid tide of village&valley agenda politics and it’s always a relief to see her survive yet another annual offensive. [Jan, we salute you. n(Ed)]

Anyways, the event itself (once up) is always worth the visit. It has everything; the good, the bad(-ish) and the (ever so slightly) ugly. More importantly, it’s also very entertaining.

We’re only going to drop in the works of note/our faves. This is not to be interpreted as any sort of judgement on the rest of the field – just that some artists present near identical work year after year after year after year and while it’s undoubtably good it just doesn’t float our boat anymore. So, we’ll start, it goes without saying, with the winner – Ross Cameron’s Tide Spiral

Ross Cameron

Congrats to Ross. Because, no matter what else, it’s an intelligently considered entry that successfully meets the client’s brief; the client being the Bega Valley Shire Council, the brief being a piece of public art to be acquired for the shire.

Now it’s a fairly common thing for artists, when entering competitions, to bone up on and make work that shoes into the predilections of whosoever happens to be the selected judge – and ordinarily this is a practice we don’t encourage/subscribe to. However in this particular instance it actually makes utter sense. Of the three peeps responsible for adjudicating the BVSC acquisitive prize, only one has professional arts credentials – so he, poor bugger, carried the handicap of two Council reps with scarce to none (…a bit akin to having Bronwyn Bishop and, say, Scott Morrison’s parliamentary secretary on the panel.) It’s hardly surprising that they’ve gone for something familiar and non-threatening. Comfortable, even. And we totally get the shell/ocean reference (looks like a warner) and reject entirely the sotto voce titterings about it resembling poo.

[And here at GCC we have no negative bias whatsoever when it comes to poo, as you are all aware.  Besides, we were far more taken by another descriptive tendered on the day – ‘looks like a fat hippy on a cupcake!’ n(Ed)]

So we reckon that Tide Spiral is a dead set perfect fit for the Valley. And should they decide to place it at the high end of Littleton Gardens it’ll make an incredibly apposite visual segue across from the new Council offices to Woolworths (stylised logo and all.) But it’ll also look appropriate just about anywhere in the shire, really. Totes respect to Ross, he’s clearly caught the essence of the place.

A work we did get a laugh out of was Tony Millard’s This is where we are heading

Tony Millard

This wouldn’t look out of place in Littleton Gardens either, but the Burghers of Bega are unlikely to appreciate its finer points (and no we’re not talking genitalia, which was sadly Ken doll.)

But we digress – we actually started out at the Small Sculpture Show…so, back to the hall…

We have to confess that we’re really not into metal abstract formalism – mon dieu, quel horreur, sacrilège, we hear you cry. Well, get over it. Doesn’t stop us from appreciating the concept, engineering and smith-manship, far from it, but it just rarely does it for us (personally.) It’s always too…overwrought or something, and hard to warm to (unless it’s a Matthew Harding!) But the one piece in SOTE 2015 that we did like was Jen Mallinson’s shift to the wall with Kyuku Landscape…which we somehow managed to miss photographing. Bummer dudes – you’ll just have to take our word for it; quietly arresting in its poetic simplicity. Noice.

At the other end of the range was John Gosch’s Phoenix; 670 recycled spark plugs rendered into a curiously elegant affair…

John Gosch

We don’t usually go for the recycled farmyard tool compilations, but the Phoenix pulled it off. The other works that caught and held our attention were: Stephen Harrison’s Hamlet and Horatio…

Stephen Harrison

…(having a good nag!)

Victoria Nelson’s Mother Earth…

Victoria Nelson

…(shades of Sky Whale?)

Tracey Sarsfield’s strung-out The Departed Horizon…

Tracey Sarsfield

…refreshingly contemporary.

Harrie Fasher’s Beauty (again, sorry, no image – we did take some but they didn’t do her piece justice)

And last but absolutely not least, Darren Mongta’s King Brown…

Darren Mongta

We love Darren’s work big time and, regardless of the judging outcomes on this particular occasion, we reckon it’d be extremely remiss of the BVSC if they didn’t purchase this work for the foyer of their new Civic Centre. At the very least it would signal a genuine interest and support of indigenous culture in our region. Just saying.

We broke for our trad Bermi lunch (with our dear friend Rosa)…

lunch chicks

…before heading up the hill to the main arena.

A persistant problem with SOTE over the years has been the matter of site specificity and scale – and this continues to be the case. So you get a lot of stuff that would look perfectly lovely in somebody’s garden but frankly fail to hold their own in open, naked space.

Anyways, on the upside, the stand-outs were: Suzie Bleach and Andy Townsend’s A Burden…

Suzie Bleach & Andy Townsend

…no surprises here, these guys are the antzpantz when it comes to nuanced articulation.

The Braidwood Central School Students’ The Birds…

Braidwood Central School

…(omigod, we wish we had someone like Suzie and Andy teaching us art when we were kids!!)

Jimmy Rix’s Shy…

Jimmy Rix
…check him out on Google (love his Roo Shooter series!)
Jesse Graham’s dragon duo, Penny Dragon and Vulcor…
Jesse Graham
…placement perfect (…we were waiting for Mother of Dragons to make an appearance.)
Thor Beowulf’s Survival Beacon
Thor Beowulf
…appealed on many levels.
But our best-in-show goes to John Ramsey’s Protest Pine…
 John Ramsey
…modest, understated (and another ‘placement perfect’ piece.)
Notwithstanding that this work was an on-message environmental piece – and ironically probably wouldn’t have the conservable longevity required for a public art work – we reckon that if the artist had jumped on the current gross-exploitation-of-Gallipoli bandwagon and named the piece Lone Pine, he’d have had the competition in the bag.
Again, just saying.
Anyhoo, plenty of goodies to make the trip worthwhile.
Have to say, though, we were rather less than charmed by Michael Purdy’s Ned
Michael Purdy
All giggling aside, you know how much we revere our Neddy. So seeing him reduced to some kind of organ grinder’s monkey left us…almost speechless. Shame job!!
We had to head straight home for a brandy!

Sculpture on the Edge 2012…

14 03 2012

The Gang, along with a surprising number of comrade-in-arts, braved the tempests the weekend before last for the annual Sculpture on the Edge at Bermagui. Had Megsie not been officially opening it we might, it’s true, have been sorely tempted to give it a miss – but like the legendary Mounties she’s interminably conscientious (twice over in fact – she had to front up again for the Sculpture Symposium on the Sunday as well…)

The ceremonials had been very sensibly shifted away from the inclement howling up on the headland to the relative comfort the Community Centre (venue of the Small Sculpture Show) which was much kinder on the opening crowd. And it was a most convivial evening – fuelled as ever by that swell of relief of pulling it off in time and the hail-fellow-well-met camaraderie of all the (mainly recidivist) participants.

Which is one of our favourite elements of the event –  all the old pals down from near and far (if not in person, then at least in sculpture.) Trevor Dunbar’s solo show at the fishermen’s Co-op was a cracker (as already reported) but we also enjoyed the work he made with Dinah for the headland…



The animals rooled, really, we decided in the end…



Lots more here to look at – well, things that caught our eye in any case. We thought there was a certain lack of truly satisfying scale this year. And a tad more rigour in the selection stakes wouldn’t have gone astray. But all in all Sculpture on the Edge continues to be a stimulating outing for the faithful. And after the bracing wind, there’s always that luscious gelati.

Hats off to Jan, Sculpture Warrior Queen. Hang in there, honey, these things take years to fully establish.

And congrats to Jen Mallinson, who took out the major prize (for her larger work up on the headland)…



She’s on a roll, that gel.

Oh, and nearly forgot May Barrie –  sublimely simple. (Sorry, no pics.)

Trevor Dunbar on the Edge…

11 03 2012

As promised, a wrap-up of Trev-o-rama at Bermagui last weekend…



Trev spared us nothing,  from Ken and Barbie to Dennis Nona…



Even Jesus got his rocks off…



It was classic Dunbar – how relieved we are to see that he’s not succumbed to moderation in his old(er) age. It’s a kind of Trev-meets-Slim-meets-the de la Torres, eh.



We caught up with him (and Dinah) at the Sculpture on the Edge opening (both serious grinners, just having sold their collaborative piece up on the headland to Philip Cox.)

More marvellous mania here.

Get edgie or get over it…

23 01 2012


Jan has just sent through Bob Georgeson’s poster for this year’s Sculpture on the Edge at Bermagui.

Sensational, wethinks. What a fabulous perspective of Randall Sinnamon’s piece from last year’s event!! Br-illiant.

But no. Apparently not. Jan’s committee collectively wet their knickers in horror, pronouncing it too offensive. Omigod – can you believe such a thing? In this day and age? And purporting, some of them, to be contemporary artists!!

SHAME ON YOU.  Get with the program, peeps. The embarrassment is all yours.

They opted instead for the safe harbour of convention…



Now, this second is a fine poster, featuring a fine artist. No argument there.

But one can’t help but feel that it lacks the frisson, the élan, of the original.

If the local arts community seriously wants to play in the big pool then it needs to start cultivating some bone fide vizzarts maturity. As a concept, Vagina dentata has probably been around since the beginning of the art historic time-line – and is perfectly acceptable. In any guise.

Nervous Nellyism be damned.

[Poor Jan – we feel for you big time. Hang in there sister. n(Ed)]

The Easter parade…

30 04 2011

La Groppa and Ginger were down for Easter which was lovely, and of course we ate far too much bunny pie and carrot cake but that goes with the territory, eh.

We got our cultural jollies via a quick dash to mr jones at Bermagui for a sweet l’il  sculpture show (…and gelati).

Megsie raised the spectre of nuked reality with her cast uranium glass piece Post-Fukushima (from the prima faeces series)…


…Deb Jones gave ’em The Finger

…Beatle Collins sold out…

…Chloe was away with the birdies…

…and Helle got crafty with plastic bags…

There was more besides, but our camera didn’t do ’em justice unfortunately. Meanwhile there was a good gathering of the ever faithful, including  all our favourite Matts…

…lots of happy peeps…

…and some very classy entertainment…

Definitely worth the drive.

We didn’t get carried away with paparazzi biz over the weekend (the house guests are notoriously camera shy) – but we will share the most significant and delish moment of the weekend; at precisely 1.30 on Saturday arvo we toasted, in concert with Sammy Jo and Iain, the occasion of their Buddhist wedding ceremony in Bagan…

We’re very pleased to welcome our newest member to the Gang…we forgive that he’s Glaswegian. Up the Celts (we think…!!)

Can’t wait to see the photos…