Sculptures start a conversation

Victoria sculpture exhibition 2022: Award winners announced

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Bronze, timber and ceramic may be materials we see regularly, but they help us talk at this exhibition.


After a two-year hiatus, the Association of Sculptors of Victoria has launched its Annual and Awards Exhibition.

A total of 117 works were displayed in mediums including bronze, timber and ceramic. Among the artists exhibited were 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.

Two major awards were presented at the opening on Saturday, June 11: the Margaret Gunnerson William Hoggan Thomas Award for the best sculpture by a sculptor with more than 10 years sculpting experience, which went to Lucy McEachern for Scopes Owl, and the Tina Wentcher Sculpture Prize for those with fewer than 10 years, that was presented to Pattie Beerens for In, from and with.

Pattie Beerens's 'In, from and with'. Photo supplied.

Pattie Beerens's 'In, from and with'. Photo supplied.

Immediate Past President and exhibition coordinator Gillian Govan said the opening went very well.

"All comments were positive regarding the standard of work, the layout of the exhibition and the venue," she said.

"All went smoothly with the accompaniment of piano, good wine supplied by award winning Kooyonga Creek Winery and lovely finger food. Our panel of judges including Lisa Byrne Director of McClelland Gallery and Sculpture Park did a wonderful job of choosing award winning works."

Gillian said all the recipients were very excited to be acknowledged.

"This is one of the key elements of the Association of sculptors Victoria: Encouraging and acknowledging the talent of our artists as well as promoting the culture of the visual arts for both members and non-members and encouraging participation of and with the community," she said.

Before the event, Gillian told The Senior she was excited about it, 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.

"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 with their works and where they're going with their work."

"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 until June 27 at the Victorian Artists Society, 430 Albert St. East Melbourne.

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