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Tag Archives: park

Morton’s Monument Park

One of the best public sculptures in Melbourne that you have probably never seen is Callum Morton Monument Park, 2015, on New Quay in the Docklands. It ticks so many of my boxes for public sculpture. You can sit on it, climb on it, walk through it, it is site specific seamlessly integrated into the paving. At one point it is just ordinary paving and then the paving becomes draped material covering monuments. The draped monuments form a square, a hub, for people to gather. Architecture or sculpture it is hard to see where one starts and the other ends at Monument Park.

Callum Morton, Monument Park, 2015

Callum Morton, Monument Park, 2015

What are these covered monuments before their unveiling? It is not clear, unlike Callum Morton’s earlier exhibition, ‘Neighbourhood Watch’ at Anna Schwartz Gallery (my review of ‘Neighbourhood Watch’), there are no plinths to provide clues. Monument Park has developed from the ‘Neighbourhood Watch’ series of wrapped versions of local public sculptures.

Given the recent violence over monuments to Confederate heroes in the USA perhaps it is better if these monuments were kept covered. As the First Dog in the Moon points out, Australia has yet to deal with its problematic monuments. I think that some of these monuments should be put in prison where they will no longer be looked up to. Morton manages a light reference to this discourse in cutting away at the interiors of his covered monuments. The bright colours of the exposed, geometric interior of the sculptures introduces splashes of bright colour to the area.

Callum Morton, Monument Park, 2015

Callum Morton, Monument Park, 2015

Wrapped sculptures have their own history in modern art in the work of Christo and, still earlier, Man Ray. These art history references adds to the quality of Monument Park without alienating the little children climbing on it. The mix of post-modern references and humour is typical of Callum Morton who originally trained as an architect before swapping to sculpture. His Hotel is a familiar sight to commuters on the Eastlink Freeway a public sculpture and is based on his early artworks influenced by architectural model making.

Callum Morton, Hotel, 2008 (1 EastLink)

Callum Morton, Hotel, 2008 (photo courtesy of EastLink)

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WTF Corner

On the corner Punt Road and Bridge Road in Richmond there is a small park area officially called “Urban Art Area”. Nobody was using it when I was there. I’m not sure who would use it in the area – it might be all right to sit on the bench and eat lunch if you worked in the area but I doubt it. “Everywhere, there and here” comments on this park “(the angry looking sculptures aside) yet I have only seen one person ever actually sitting in the site.” Beside the busy Punt Road the little park is multi-level area and contains three sculptures.

It is the site of the former Richmond Cable Tramway Engine House that was demolished in 1991; Melbourne had several independently operating cable tramway companies prior to the current electric tramway system in the early 20th Century. The site is heritage listed for what that is worth.

Of the 3 sculptures: one sculptor appears to have disappeared, another works in a completely different direction and one has gone on to produce more significant works of public sculpture in a very different style. These are the results of this shotgun approach to public art collecting.

Anton Hasell, “Yarra Thylacine”, 1995, bronze

There was no information on site of name of one the sculptures – a dog, a bridge and a boat with the words “Yarra” and “Acheron” on its bow and prow. It is Anton Hasell’s “Running Red Tiger”, 1995, bronze; what appears to be a dog is meant to be an extinct thylacine or Tasmanian tiger, a carnivorous marsupial and the tiger also references the Richmond football team. Anton Hasell (Dr Anton Hasell of the Australian Bell Pty Ltd) has gone on to produce many commemorative bells notably the Australian Bell for the Australian Centenary in 2001 and HMS Beagle Ship Bell Chime commissioned by Darwin City Council. Stlg48 wrote a blog post about Anton Hasell’s exhibition at the Bendigo Art Gallery in 2010.

Mary Perrott Stimson, “Mother and Daughter” 1993-94, bronze

Mary Perrott Stimson’s large figurative bronze sculpture, “Mother and Daughter” 1993-94, stands out against one wall. Although intended as a friendly statement the sculpture does not help the corner. Mary Perrott Stimson has created another public statue, “Reading the News”, 2001, located in Wagga Wagga but I have not been able to find out anything else about this artist.

Adrian Mauriks “Opus 15”, 1995, steel

The most successful sculpture on the corner is Adrian Mauriks’ “Opus 15”, 1995, of cut steel. This surreal sculpture contains a view onto the back lane and is the only sculpture to refer to the local environment. Adrian Mauriks now mainly works on in white painted epoxy resin and stainless steel and there are examples of his work at Chadstone Shopping Centre, Docklands New Quay Precinct, Bundoora Park, and Deakin University’s Burwood Campus. There is also an earlier work of his in marble in the lawn section of Sprinvale Cemetery. Amongst his early works is a “Homage to Jean Arp” 1972, plaster, showing the Dada/Surreal influence in his work.

This little corner in Richmond demonstrates that landscaping and erecting sculptures is not sufficient to revitalize an urban space.


Sculpture @ Coburg Lake Reserve

Coburg Lake Reserve is a large park built along the Merri Creek and in the old granite bluestone quarry where prisoners cut the stones for the walls of Pentridge Prison. A dam on the Merri creek has made part of the former quarry into an ornamental lake. It is the most attractive place in the Melbourne suburb of Coburg.

In the last decade the park has acquired some sculptures; there is a winner of previous sculpture shows, a donation from sister cities and even an abandoned sculpture. However the scale of the park with its the tall eucalypts tends to dwarf even large sculptures. (I have written blog entries about the sculpture “Man of the Valley” and about other sculptures in the City of Moreland in Sculptures in Brunswick and the Moreland Sculpture Show).

The Moreland Sculpture Show was shown in the park for several years and this has contributed two permanent sculptures to the park by Melbourne-based artists. The sculpture show was moved out the Coburg Lake Reserve due to persistent vandalism to the sculptures (and the annual sculpture show was last year replaced with an installation show).

Lisa Jane Miller, “Fish Out of Water”, 2002, ceramic tiles on ferro cement

“Fish Out of Water” by Lisa Jane Miller was Moreland Sculpture Award Winner and Public Choice Award Winner at the Moreland Sculpture Show 2002. Decorated with a mosaic of ceramic tiles on ferro cement, with a large fish rising out of a dry basin. This sculpture is a plea for Australia to treat refugees more humanly, written in the glaze of the ceramic tiles. Another “Fish out of Water – Inhumanity 1” won the Northcote Pottery Award at the 2005 Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show; it was, again, in Miller’s preferred media is ceramic tiles and ferro cement. When the sculpture was first installed the area of the park was largely undeveloped and it really looked like a fish out of water. Now it looks at home as there is a children’s playground next to it with a giant game of Twister, swings, a flying fox, seating and some colourful play-sculptural elements.

Liz Hewitt, “Ship to Warf”, 2003, painted cement

Liz Hewitt’s “Ship to Warf” is a series of three red knots of cast concrete. The sculpture was abandoned by the sculptor at the end of the Moreland Sculpture Show, donating it to Moreland City in 2003 (a donation that the council has foolishly yet to officially accept). “Ship to Warf” works well as public sculpture in that it is elegant, provokes the imagination and you can be stand or sit on it.

Coburg Lake Reserve is a popular park and a great place for a picnic. The park is well equipped with a hall/meeting room, a stage, several children’s playgrounds, picnic and BBQ areas. When I was photographing “Ship to Warf” there were a couple of galahs walking around on the grass (for more about the birds at Coburg Lake Reserve see Eremaea Birds).

Gahlah @ Coburg Lake Reserve


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