Keith Wiltshire @ 69 Smith St.

I walked past a house in my neighbourhood of Coburg and noticed a carved stone amid the foliage in the front garden. The geometric form of the stone would have been a feature but it was a bit too small. At least it wasn’t kitsch, cast garden sculpture that they sell further up Sydney Road. What they needed is one of Keith Wiltshire’s sculptures.

I don’t see a lot of sculpture suitable for domestic garden settings on exhibition; most contemporary sculptures appear suitable only for indoor locations, preferably an art gallery. It is harder to make sculpture that can survive exposure to the weather. There is a demand for contemporary garden sculpture it; my mother was always asking me to make something for her garden but that is another story. People spend thousands of dollars buying other things for their house but when it comes to garden sculpture they are stingy.

Keith Wiltshire’s exhibition “Sacred Stones” is in the sculpture garden out the backyard of 69 Smith St. This location will give you an idea of what the sculptures would look in your own backyard. The prices range from $300 (for one of the “Tsukubai” a set of large bowls carved from local volcanic bluestone basalt) to $4700, for the impressive “Totem” of copper, steel and quartz.

“Stones have held great significance for humans and arte often invoked as facilitators for spiritual requirements.” Keith Wiltshire, artist statement, 2010

There are sacred stones in cultures around the world; the acropolis in Athens is built on one enormous sacred stone, the ancient Greek equivalent of Ayers Rock. In his exhibition Keith Wiltshire has found influences for his stones in many cultures, most obviously Japanese Zen. Wiltshire is exploring many sculptural techniques and styles in this exhibition; the sculptures are not highly original but they are elegant, tasteful and well made. The two cast bronze hands holding a split stone in his “Binary” is the most technically complex work in the exhibition.

If you want a standing stone for your garden you should consider the sculptures of Keith Wiltshire, the exhibition continues until the 19th of September.

About Mark Holsworth

Writer, independent researcher and artist, Mark Holsworth is the author of the book Sculptures of Melbourne. View all posts by Mark Holsworth

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