Artist’s eye-catching new medium

Thursday, 13th April, 2017

HERE’S CHEERS – Artist Richard Whitaker with one of his stunning sculptures.

Known previously for its commercial crop of Dutch irises, Five Bob Farm at Birchs Bay became Art Farm when a crop of a different kind began appearing in its gardens.

Situated in the state’s south, the farm features sculptures and installations dotted along a walking trail, as well as a gallery and studio.

One of the featured artists is Richard Whitaker, who has created three sculptures of women.

Mr Whitaker started exhibiting his ceramic sculptures at Art Farm seven years ago. More recently his medium has been metal.

“Last year I did some iron work with ceramics and got into metal work,” he said.

He won the People’s Prize at Art Farm last year, which was his first major prize.

Buoyed by this, Mr Whitaker decided to tackle life-size figures for this year’s Art Farm Sculpture Trail, creating three Picasso-inspired women in steel.

“I’m doing a lot more in this field now,” he said.

“I like welding; it’s fun, and the responses [from viewers] are much stronger.”

As his sculptures are full-size, Mr Whitaker has left them in the garden of his North Hobart home while they await transport to Art Farm – something that has thrilled locals.

“I have them in the front garden and they have had a very positive response,” he said.

Fellow artist Wendy Fletcher, whose works focus on the natural world and whimsical themes, has been exhibiting at Art Farm for 10 years.

For this year’s art trail, she has created a ceramic Tasmanian devil and titled her piece En passant, drawing on the chess manoeuvres and meaning “in passing”.

“Tasmanian devils, like the Tasmanian tigers, were hunted until they were given protection in 1941,” Ms Fletcher said.

“Their numbers increased until they were affected by devil facial tumour disease.

“I’m asking, are they only going to be left in passing?”

Ms Fletcher has a workshop in Tinderbox and enjoys having the chance to express herself.

The latest art trail opens on April 14 and continues until mid-July.

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