Sculpture & Sustainability

The fuse had blown at Andrianakis Fitzroy Gallery when I visited but enough light was coming in through the skylights to see the art. Andrianakis Fitzroy Gallery used to be called The Fitzroy Gallery, directed by Peter Andrianakis. It has been around for since 1992 and little appears to have changed except the exhibitions. Three artists, Samara McIlroy, Jean-Jacques Lale-Demoz and Victoria Nadas, were exhibiting amidst the small maze of partitions that make up the gallery space.

Samara McIlroy bronze statues are dramatic and mythic; they are so much better, even in small forms, than her paintings. As sources material for her sculpture her paintings and drawings are interesting. The horned Feralman appears in her paintings and sculptures and I would like to see her use her Scenes at the Circumlocution Office for more sculptures rather than using classical themes, like Actaeon. Jean-Jacques Lale-Demoz is also exhibiting oil paintings and sculpture. Again, his sculptures are far better than his paintings. ‘Madam Jule Verne’s Kitchen’, a found object assemblage, is a masterpiece of combining fascinating objects. Victoria Nadas is, perhaps, the best painter of the three artists exhibiting but her monoprints are far more exciting.

At Area Contemporary Art Spaces Liz Walker is exhibiting ‘sustainable sculptures’. ‘Sustainable sculptures’ is an environmentally aware way of describing sculpture from found, recycled materials. On the subject of sustainable art, the gallery known Artholes has now become Panelpop. Tony Knolls is producing glass-free, paper-free framed supports suitable for painting or printing photographs from recycled material. There are a large number of photographs printed on this sustainable support on display in the windows.

But I digress, back to Liz Walker’s sculpture exhibition: ‘You can’t argue with dust’. The politics of sustainability are played out on a chessboard between white sustainable pieces, with fluorescent bulbs for bishops, and black pollution, with black garbage bags for castles. Wall hanging sculpture concentrate on the aesthetics of decay, the beauty of rust is on show in ‘After the rain’. The central series of 13 giant handbags made of riveted recycled metal, like corrugated iron or wire mesh, are elegant and fun. If we don’t learn to live in a sustainable way we will end up like Walker’s Advance Australia Where? – empty chairs and bones.

I hope that all of these artists continue to exhibit their sculpture. There are a lot of prizes and exhibitions for sculpture; Australia is in desperate need for more sculptors, there are not enough sculptures in cities. It is more difficult and expensive to have a sculpture studio, to manufacture and store sculptures. But there are so many painters and not enough sculptors.


About Mark Holsworth

Writer and artist Mark Holsworth is the author of two books, The Picasso Ransom and Sculptures of Melbourne. View all posts by Mark Holsworth

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