Art is very subjective. What has one person spouting effusively about the profound use of negative space in an abstract assemblage, has another just thinking, ‘wow, that’s cool’ or perhaps scratching their head in confusion. The beauty of art is that it gets people talking, it’s thought provoking and the three dimensional aspect of sculptures adds another layer that evokes a little bit more conversation.
If you’re looking for somewhere to take the family or stuck for somewhere to go to pass a few hours, then take advantage of Perth’s outstanding coast and head down to Cottesloe Beach. Browse the 78 pieces of amazing artwork dotted along the sand and under the shady grass area, that are part of the 13th annual Sculpture by the Sea exhibition.
It’s incredible how the artists use different mediums and materials to create their sculptures. The see-through ball above is made up of acrylic, concrete, steel and water and is titled Horizon. When you look into it, your view is distorted and everything appears upside down. With the sapphire blue and aquamarine of the ocean as the backdrop, this piece garnered a lot of attention. Some of the pieces are interactive but most have DO NOT TOUCH signs that are roundly ignored so this one is cordoned off to prevent smudgy fingers from ruining the effect. If you think this piece would be a welcome addition to your home, it will set you back $88,000.
This vibrant red chair, titled Dearest, resembles something from Aliens, and is made from fibreglass, steel, wood ply and structural foam. It is intended for people to sit on so I watched a multitude of people, young and old, dive onto it and smile. I couldn’t help thinking one of those tentacle-like tendrils might spring to life and curl around their victim, but of course it didn’t happen! The artist has stated, “Don’t get too comfortable” so perhaps that is a warning? Actually, I think it just means don’t laze on it all day as the line of people waiting for their selfies will get impatient. If you think this sculpture will brighten up your home, it can be purchased for $27,000.
The artists descend on Cottesloe beach from all over the world to showcase their work and perhaps go home $50,000 richer. This year, first prize was awarded to Harsha Vardhan Durugadd from India for this piece he calls, Column of Sound. It represents the “visual dynamics of an audio wave”. On Friday 3rd March, Harsha was just walking by when the official opening was taking place and he heard his name being announced. He said he was not expecting to win and was very surprised. He is prepared to part with the winning piece for $15,000.
Denise Pepper from Bayswater, is the recipient of $10,000 as The Western Australian Sculpture Scholarship winner for Leaden Heart, this intricately detailed hand embossed, fibreglass, timber and copper boat, which glowed golden in the sun. She says there are a lot of hidden messages in the artwork which she described as representing a “long journey”. Denise added that she is very proud of her achievement and is much happier for the recognition from this award than the money. You could own this prize-winning piece for $27,000.
Jordan Spriggs, standing at the rear of this metallic monster of the deep, is another emerging WA artist who spent around 400 hours creating The Great Hammerhead, from recycled steel, on his dad’s farm. If you examine it closely, apparently you can find 26 other sharks in the detail. That could keep the kids quiet for a while! This piece is valued at $48,000.
Don’t forget to wander through the marquee across the road that houses smaller sculptures. This one by Norton Flavel caught my eye because of the gorgeous colour. Made from cast glass and stainless steel it is backlit with an LED. The blues are just mesmerising and because of its size, it costs $3,850.
This squashed tin can called Cansumerism is the work of Hayley Bahr who was awarded the Rio Tinto WA Emerging Sculptor Mentorship for 2017. She and Tim Keevil, used recycled metals, perspex and printing equipment to create this very realistic looking can. If you look inside, it is a proper printmaking studio with a hammock for contemplating those creative endeavours.
I’m not sure if I’m supposed to have a favourite but I am just blown away by the sheer size of Big Boy which stands at 504 x 235 x 2cm. He’s been placed at the end of the groyne overlooking Cottesloe Beach. The artist is Zadok Ben-David.
He is one of Israel’s and England’s most significant artist and sculptors in the world, with a studio in Portugal where he uses laser cut metal to create visually stunning artworks on a massive scale.
After traversing through sand, climbing up and down grassy banks and overhearing how much work is involved in producing these sculptures, I’ve worked up an appetite. The Indiana has pride of place on the beachfront so I settle myself out of the sun and enjoy Turkish Bread with Hummus and Dukkah dip that is extremely tasty washed down with an ice-cold coke, for $18.50, while looking out over the ocean. The portion is way too big for me so when I leave the coast, I take my left over bread with me.
Sculpture by the Sea is free and runs until 20th March. Parking is a bit of a nightmare so it might be wise to catch the train and jump on a shuttle bus which deposits you right outside Indiana’s. We are in the midst of high temperatures so remember to slip, slop, slap and consider wearing comfy shoes and taking a picnic to eat under the trees as the cafes in the strip can get quite busy. Enjoy!