This exhibition features works of sculpture in the Newcastle Art Gallery collection from the 1950’s to the present day. A number of the artists on display have made significant contributions to the history and evolution of contemporary sculpture in Australia through their explorations of sculptural form, space and materials.
Abstract wood carving 1952 by Margel Hinder was acquired by the gallery in 1973 and while it is one of her last carved timber sculptures it also marks the beginning of her pioneering work with abstract sculptural forms across a range of materials. Hinder is credited with bringing an international modernism to Australian sculpture and was a member of the Sydney 6; a group of artists who were devoted to producing abstract and experimental art during the 1940’s and in the aftermath of World War II.
Robert Klippel is now recognised as one of the most significant Australian sculptors of his time and was interested in the balance between organic forms and the machine. Early in his career Klippel was exposed to surrealism whilst living and working in Europe culminating in his solo exhibition at the Galerie Nina Daussett in Paris in 1949. On display here are some of his carefully crafted miniature sculptures No. 299 1973, No. 345 1977 which predate his larger sculptural assemblages made in the 1980’s from defunct foundry patterns he had collected over two decades.
Ron Robertson-Swann is another artist who has given much to sculpture in Australia as an artist, mentor and educator. Turnpike Mountain 1972 was exhibited at Newcastle Art Gallery a few years prior to his polarising, and much written about, site specific public sculpture Vault 1979-1980 installed in the Melbourne CBD and later removed without his consent. Robertson-Swann studied at St Martin’s School of Art, London from 1959 under internationally acclaimed sculptors Anthony Caro and Phillip King at a time when sculpture was moving away from figurative forms to more abstract human relationships between sculpture and the viewer.
'I think you have to have life in the form rather than just geometry. Form means informing one’s material with one’s knowledge, one’s sensibility’. Robert Klippel
Carl ANDRE Steel (sum) 16 1978 136 steel plates 490.0 x 360.0 cm Gift of the artist 2011 Newcastle Art Gallery collection