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Three NZ artists are tak­ing part in Sculp­ture by the Sea, writes Dionne Chris­tian

Bay of Plenty Times - - Weather - Pelorus Jack Ho­ratius Sea Scene

Who doesn’t like to be be­side the sea — es­pe­cially when the sea is the Tas­man and the al­ready spec­tac­u­lar Bondi to Ta­ma­rama walk is en­hanced by some 107 sculp­tures along the pop­u­lar fore­shore des­ti­na­tion?

Started in 1997, the an­nual Sculp­ture by the Sea ex­hi­bi­tion is on for the next fort­night and, now in its 22nd year, is ex­pected to at­tract about 500,000 visi­tors. It cen­tres on Marks Park; an apt choice given the park is fa­mous for an Abo­rig­i­nal rock en­grav­ing of a shark or whale (you’ll find that next to the walk, just be­low the park).

Once you’ve con­tem­plated that — and brushed up against his­tory which shows mak­ing art has been in­trin­sic to hu­man­ity for mil­len­nia — it’s time for the 2km coastal walk and to see what artists cre­ate to­day. You’ll no doubt be daz­zled, amazed, in­trigued and maybe even a lit­tle un­set­tled by sculp­tures that range from the im­mense — there’s a 5.5m walk­ing man and a giant dis­em­bod­ied head mod­elled on UK artist Damien Hirst — to the qui­etly thought-pro­vok­ing.

In all, it’s a tremen­dous tes­ta­ment to the power of cre­ativ­ity and imag­i­na­tion as well as an op­por­tu­nity for artists from all over the world — this year from Aus­tralia to Slo­vakia and every­where in­be­tween are rep­re­sented — to make us ask, “how did they do that?”

Bryn Jones, one of three New Zealand artists se­lected to take part, says he made his 2m-tall male fig­ure, stand­ing on a soap box and yelling out to­ward the ocean at the top of his lungs, by think­ing about how the world is full of talk and peo­ple try­ing to have a say.

Jones has en­sured the work is hardy — the wind can whip wild and Syd­ney’s had a bit of rain this spring — in­cor­po­rat­ing fi­bre­glass and a steel “ar­mour” around it so it can stand up to en­vi­ron­men­tal con­di­tions.

Then again, he’s no stranger to mak­ing work to stand in the great out­doors. Work by the Dunedin-based artist and teacher can be found all over the coun­try —

at French Pass, Sir Ed­mund Hil­lary at Mt Cook and Sur­vey in Auck­land — and has been de­scribed as rem­i­nis­cent of clas­si­cal Ro­man sculp­ture, in­cred­i­bly life-like in scale and de­tail.

When he ex­hib­ited at last year’s Sculp­ture in the Gar­dens, at the Auck­land Botanic Gar­dens, his sculp­tures were de­scribed as “pen­sive, sug­gest­ing a sense of re­spon­si­bil­ity, and evoca­tive of stately or philo­soph­i­cal fig­ures. This no­tion of guardian­ship or ac­count­abil­ity re­lates back to New Zealand in themes of en­vi­ron­men­tal­ism and own­er­ship of land.”

So it is with the shout­ing man: “It’s the idea of com­mu­ni­cat­ing and ev­ery­one shout­ing at ev­ery­one else in all sorts of fo­rums, talk­ing on so­cial me­dia and try­ing to be on their own soap­box. But not ev­ery­body wants to hear what you have to say . . . It’s about, maybe, en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to think about what they are go­ing to say first.”

It’s Jones’ first time at Sculp­ture by the Sea, now the world’s big­gest out­door sculp­ture event, and he sub­mit­ted a pro­posal more out of cu­rios­ity — “I just thought I would have a go” — and didn’t ex­pect to get in.

He could also be the first son to ex­hibit along­side his fa­ther. Jones’ dad is se­nior artist Mor­gan Jones, back at Sculp­ture by the Sea for a fourth time. Now in his 80s, Jones snr was 21 when he ar­rived in New Zealand in 1955 and 32 when, 11 years later, he first ex­hib­ited at the Dunedin Pub­lic ● Art Gallery. His work is more ab­stract than his son’s but it’s still about ways to look at and think about the world. An or­ange corten steel sculp­ture, is based on the myth of Ro­man hero Ho­ratius Co­cles (mean­ing one-eyed), who re­put­edly saved Rome from in­vad­ing Etr­uscans, and stands as a metaphor for the de­fence of one’s be­liefs.

Jones Jnr didn’t tell his fa­ther he’d ap­plied for Sculp­ture by the Sea, sav­ing it for a sur­prise when he was ac­cepted.

“It’s ab­so­lutely fan­tas­tic to be part of such a well-run event and Dad was thrilled; he’s al­ways been sup­port­ive. It’s a wee bit un­usual for ev­ery­one else that we’re both sculp­tors but not for me who was brought up with it. It wasn’t a con­scious de­ci­sion to be­come a sculp­tor — I trained as a mon­u­ment ma­son — but when it’s been all around you, ob­vi­ously it can’t help but have an im­pact.”

Re­becca Rose, the third NZ artist, worked with gal­vanised steel to craft a piece that re­flects her in­ter­est in the cy­cle of life and in­ter­con­nect­ed­ness. imag­ines un­der­wa­ter life washed up on the seashore, but th­ese in­tri­cate pieces of na­ture, shells and the like, have lost their outer lay­ers of pro­tec­tion be­cause of the sun and the surf. What’s left are sur­pris­ing and beau­ti­ful in­te­ri­ors.

Pho­tos / Jes­sica Wyld

Damien Hirst Look­ing for Sharks, by Cool Shit.

Pho­tos / Jes­sica Wyld

Bryn Jones’ Can You Hear Me Can You See Me, above; El­iz­a­beth Kelly’s Macro­cos­mia Se­ries Sar­gasso Sphere, left.

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