07
Jun
13

Exhibition: ‘Sentinels’ by David Wood at Gasworks Arts Park, Albert Park

Exhibition dates: 29th May – 16th June 2013

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A solid first solo exhibition from my friend David Wood at Gasworks Arts Park. Conceptually the show needed a little tightening but technically the work is outstanding (as you would expect from the owner of Bent Metal and one of Melbourne’s best blacksmiths) and aesthetically pleasing. I particularly liked the topographic remapping of both Port Phillip Bay and St Kilda Junction. Anyone who knows Melbourne intimately would recognise the ramps and walkways that bisect the interior of the junction even in their abstract form, especially the tram ramp ascending from Dandenong Road to St Kilda Road. I also admired the Nardoo sentinels, which are to be made at full size for a public park in Berwick later in the year.

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Many thankx to Woody for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

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David Wood. 'Ghost Gum Three' 2013

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David Wood
Ghost Gum Three
2013
Stainless steel and redgum
76 x 310 x 44 cm

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David Wood. 'Ghost Gum One' 2013

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David Wood
Ghost Gum One
2013
Stainless steel and redgum
72 x 170 x 39 cm

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David Wood. 'Ghost Gum Two' 2013

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David Wood
Ghost Gum Two
2013
Stainless steel and redgum
78 x 24 x 36 cm

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DSCN2621-WEB

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Installation view of the exhibition Sentinels by David Wood at Gasworks Art Park

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“My work has two main driving forces – a desire to explore and continue a blacksmithing inheritance and investigating place and how we interact with the physical world. I am interested in how landmarks within landscape can shape, reflect and define our Nation’s ethos and their place as sentinels within our history.

I use traditional forging techniques and prefer to leave hammer marks and traces of process exposed, as testament, on the finished sculpture. The medium itself represents an industry crucial to our economy but detrimental to our landscape.

This current group of work, inspired by the burning of two ghost gums in the Northern Territory is a personal muse on Australian culture. The burning of the ghost gums made famous by Albert Namatjira was a terrible act of vandalism. Small silvery ghostly gum trees stand upon burnt timber bases intended to evoke images of landscape and cultural practice, both ancient and current. Forged vessels take inspiration from the ghost gums’ colour and form.

The pieces are abstract representations in metals and timber of trees, mountain ranges and land formations. Mountain ranges are used to survey our cities and towns. They collect our water and are harvested for their riches. Once they were homes to spiritual beings.

I was born at the base of mount Baw Baw and have created homage. This mountain for me is a keeper of secrets. As an adult I live upon the shores of Port Phillip Bay, a quiet sleeping giant. St Kilda junction is a lyrical gesture to paths crossing and the corroboree tree that still watches over this site.

Bought together, the sculptures encapsulate a personal sense of belonging to a place. They also endeavour to explore greater cultural notions of ownership.”

Artist statement by David Wood

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David Wood. 'Port Phillip Bay' 2013

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David Wood
Port Phillip Bay
2013
Copper
33 x 33 x 70 cm

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David Wood. 'St Kilda Junction' 2013

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David Wood
St Kilda Junction
2013
Stainless steel, mild steel and copper
27 x 40 x 32 cm

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st-kilda-junction-detail-WEB

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David Wood
St Kilda Junction (detail)
2013

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DSCN2624-WEB

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David Wood. 'Nardoo sentinels' (detail) 2013

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David Wood
Nardoo sentinels (detail)
2013
Mild steel

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Nardoo sentinels

Inspired by classical structures within great gardens, in particular the Temple of the Winds in the Royal Melbourne Botanic Gardens, this functional sculpture reflects the transparency of our native landscape, significant in shaping our cultural ethos. Mirroring a cluster of trees with their canopy hovering above, it defines its space and surrounds. This group of sentinels stand together to offer protection from the elements.

The singular motif takes the form of nardoo, a native water and food plant. Its finishes mimicking its natural colours and hues. Intended to be a water collector, the shelter is engineered to allow rainwater to drain through its canopy and channel down its stems. Visibility of water flow adds a kinetic dimension to the sculpture. Commissioned exclusively by Pask Development Group, via Tract Landscape Architects, this rotunda is a central feature for a public park. It will stand proud later this year.

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David Wood. 'Nardoo sentinels' (left) and 'Reed Rotunda' (right) 2013

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David Wood
Nardoo sentinels (left) and Reed Rotunda (right)
2013
Mild steel

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David Wood. 'Reed rotunda' 2013

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David Wood
Reed rotunda
2013
Mild steel
70 x 70 x 46 cm

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Reed rotunda

The design derives a motif from the natural growth of the Phragmite Australis reeds, a wetland plant indigenous to our continent home.

The common reed is known to everyone and surrounds us. It plays an integral role in conservation as habitat and a guardian for wildlife. A natural purifier, removing toxins from our creeks and wetlands. A reed standing alone may be insignificant, but when congregating on mass, it becomes a formidable force in both structure and function. An organic organism that frames and protects the landscape, moves and changes colour with the seasons, rides the wind and plays with light and shade.

Often overlooked as a feature of landscape or viewed as slightly raggedy, this piece invites visitors to celebrate these reeds as something beautiful and to use them as a metaphor for community, refuge and purification of the spirit and soul.

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David Wood. 'Baw Baw wall feature' (detail) 2013

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David Wood. 'Baw Baw wall feature' (detail) 2013

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David Wood
Baw Baw wall feature (detail)
2013
Mild steel, stainless steel, copper, brass, aluminium and glass
6200 x 500 x 70 cm

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Gasworks Arts Park
21 Graham Street
Albert Park VIC 3206
T: (03) 8606 4200

Gallery Hours: 9am – 4pm each day

Gasworks Arts Park website

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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes the Art Blart blog which reviews exhibitions in Melbourne, Australia and posts exhibitions from around the world. He has a Dr of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne and is currently studying a Master of Art Curatorship at The University of Melbourne.

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