A discus thrower sculpture has been stolen from the front yard of a suburban house in Bunbury Street, Footscray. There is now a sign in the yard asking for the return of the stolen sculpture.
Having written about both suburban garden sculptures and stolen sculptures, I am very interested. I was even more curious when Dougall Irving’s email alerted me to this crime suggested that it was “one of the statues from outside Myers during the 1956 Olympic”. He included a photograph from the collection of Museums Victoria that looks like he is right.
Although clothed, the sculpture is based on classical Greek sculptures of discus throwers rather than actual discus throwers in action. And this neo-classical style would be right for a commercial sculpture made in Melbourne in the fifties.
During the Olympics, the Myers Store on Bourke Street was decorated with the Olympic Rings on this facade and on its awning the flags of all the participating countries along with seven statues of athletes, including a discus thrower. Myers Emporium (as it was called then) had every reason to publicise the Olympics as it was the official ticket seller.
The sculpture looks like fibreglass or some kind of plastic, which would explain its long life and durability. Given this material and this blog post reducing the chances of it being sold as Olympics memorabilia, there is some hope that the thief might regret the theft and return the sculpture. I hope so.
Wandering around Brunswick by chance I came across the woodcarving “art of Igmus” by Brett Davis at #314 Victoria Street. There were two fine carvings on display in the front window and inside were some larger elongated figures, heads and two carved log planters in the shape of heads.
Brett Davis, Frog Hand
Woodcarver Brett Davis hadn’t been there for very long, he has set up a pop-up studio/shop for two weeks while the space was vacant. I talked with him about woodcarving, garden sculpture and the lively atmosphere on that stretch of Victoria Street where the shop is located – it used to be one of those little fashion boutiques.
Davis’s sculptures are all carved from ‘recycled’ timbre; fallen timber that he has found or from his arborist friends. The finished carving is often cracked and full of borer’s holes, (wood borers in the black wattle) giving it a weathered look that work well with the surreal tribal-style of Davis’s carvings.
Davis commented about the price of buying a carving from Indonesia compared to buying his work. It made me think about the good, the crafty and the bad of sculptures and other garden decoration. When it comes to suburban garden decorations it can get very bad, ugly and kitsch. We won’t go there; there is so much tasteless, the horrible and pretentious stuff in people’s gardens (The worst is featured in my other blog Who Buys This Stuff?)
On my wanderings I occasionally see interesting front gardens with sculptural features, mostly it is decorative fences and corny crafty garden sculptures. Corn in a cottage garden looks fine because they are not lawn ornaments if there isn’t a lawn.