Sculpting a conversation

Victoria sculpture exhibition 2022 to launch in June


Sculpture is finally being displayed in person with a prestigious and historic association after two years of hibernation.


After a two-year hiatus, the Association of Sculptors of Victoria will host its Annual and Awards Exhibition later this month.

A total of 117 works will be on display in mediums including bronze, timber and ceramic.

Among the artists exhibiting will be Michael Meszaros, who is celebrating 50 years of being a sculptor and whose father Andor Meszaros is a former president of the Victorian Sculptors' Society - a forebear of the association.

Michael Meszaros 'Global Warming'. Photo supplied.

Michael Meszaros 'Global Warming'. Photo supplied.

Two major awards will be presented; the Margaret Gunnerson William Hoggan Thomas Award for the best sculpture by a sculptor with more than 10 years sculpting experience, and the Tina Wentcher Sculpture Prize for those with fewer than 10 years.

Immediate Past President and exhibition coordinator Gillian Govan is excited about the event, particularly after not being able to host such an event in 2020 or 2021 because of the pandemic.

"The variety, diversity and quality of sculptures by talented artists from all over Victoria is amazing," she said.

"We had our exhibition organised last year, and cancelled twice, but the sculptors have had work sitting around and they need to get it out there."

The association's history can be traced back to 1932, when the Sculptors' Society of Australia was formed. During the Depression of the 1930s, Victorian sculptors were struggling to survive; few people understood or appreciated sculpture and even fewer could afford to buy, resulting in some professional exhibitions failing to sell a single work. In 1932 W. Leslie Bowles called a meeting of the Melbourne professionals to consider the foundation of a sculptors' society, whose purpose would be to promote sculpture within the community and encourage competitions for major commissions, and mitigate other trade issues at the time.

While the association has evolved in name and structure since, its purpose and activities such as hosting the exhibition remain the same.

Meetings are held in studios, a regular newsletter is sent to members and a very complex and informative website is accessible to members and the community.

"The association itself encourages people who have a creative flair and want to do sculpture, to have a reason to do it, and we encourage an understanding of sculpture and art in the community," Gillian said.

"The exhibition isn't just about displaying work; for the sculptors it's a fantastic networking opportunity where they can discuss techniques, ideas and what they would like to achieve.

"Sculpture is an opportunity for sculptors to say something. If someone has a firm feeling on a topic, they can use their work to express their own feelings, or encourage other people to change their thoughts or ideas. It can also bring people joy; we can't 'sell' the art - people will see it and like it."

The exhibition runs from June 9-27 at the Victorian Artists Society, 430 Albert St. East Melbourne. The opening event will be on June 11 from 2-4pm when guest speaker will be McClelland Sculpture Park and Gallery director, Lisa Byrne.

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