NEITHER the incessant rain nor a freak gust of wind, which damaged one of the drawcard pieces, could dampen the high spirits at the opening of this year’s Sculpture on the Edge.
More than 100 people attended the official opening of the exhibition at Bermagui Community Centre on Friday night, before the most committed made their way up to Dickinson Point for a first glimpse of the artworks – and Yuri Weidenhofer’s fire sculpture – as darkness fell.
The exhibition’s 48 large sculptures, installed between Horseshoe Bay Beach and the headland, and 50 small sculptures at the community centre will remain on display until Sunday.
Their materials range from steel to recycled string, with subject matter including monkeys with televisions, wispy bird colonies, martyred saints and crocodile men.
Some of the artists sure to attract attention are local Peter Collins, whose “Wave out of Water” helped him to win a residency at the Australian National University, Mayor’s Prize recipient Mr Weidenhofer, Emerging Artist prize winner Al Phemister and Jen Mallinson.
Ms Mallinson’s steel sculpture “After the Rain II” won her the Philip Cox Acquisitive Prize, and will take up its new home at Mr Cox’s residence outside Bermagui.
However, the biggest talking point was what happened before the opening, when a strong wind gust blew over internationally acclaimed artist Michael Snape’s “Bowl 18”.
The steel sculpture, depicting a circle of intricate figures with their hands joined, was badly dented.
FIRE SCULPTURE: Tanja artist Yuri Wiedenhoffer gets his fire sculpture going as is tradition at the event launch. Photo by Prem Samira
Mr Snape said he considered “packing up and going home”, but changed his mind, and the slightly reshaped bowl is back in its pride of place at the headland’s eastern tip.
“If it was a car, I would have taken it to the panel beater for sure,” Mr Snape said. “But the accident gave me a new way of seeing it and I looked at it afresh – it’s funny, but sometimes things can be improved by something like this.
“Sculpture is all about resistance and it’s just another part of dealing with that resistance.
“No matter how much I tried to impose my will on the materials, nature obviously had other ideas.”
Bega Valley Shire Mayor Tony Allen and Bega Valley Regional Gallery curator Megan Bottari both spoke at the opening, applauding the artists and Sculpture on the Edge event manager Jan Ireland.
Ms Ireland said she was delighted with the quality and diversity of this year’s exhibition, which includes works by nationally and internationally established sculptors as well as emerging local artists.
Visitors can vote for the People’s Choice Awards throughout the week.
ON THE HEADLAND: Sculpture on the Edge event manager Jan Ireland in front of “Wave out of Water” by Bermagui’s Peter “Beatle” Collins.