Highlights from the outdoor sculpture collection

The McClelland Sculpture Park showcases over 100 permanent outdoor sculptures located within the diverse settings of ti-tree forests, bracken paths, heathlands, landscaped gardens and lakes.

The McClelland outdoor sculpture collection showcases works by Australian sculptors from as early as 1887 through to the present day. The earliest sculptures in the outdoor collection by William Charles Scurry (1862 –1930), Untitled (Three allegorical figures) 1887 were originally commissioned for the lobby of the Federal Coffee Palace in Melbourne and were subsequently gifted to McClelland in 1996.

A core focus of the outdoor sculpture collection is the representation of the Centre 5 group of artists who established themselves in Melbourne in 1959 to promote contemporary sculpture.  Framed and derived from their knowledge of international art they looked outwards towards abstraction rather than maintaining figurative styles and nationalistic Australian subjects.  The group included the sculptors Vincas Jomantas, Julius Kane, Inge King, Clifford Last, Lenton Parr, Norma Redpath and Teisutis Zikaras all of which have since the group’s formation, forged major individual reputations within the history of Australian sculpture.

McClelland Sculpture Park+Gallery has a long affinity with the Centre 5 group and includes multiple examples of their works on permanent display within the Sculpture Park and in the internal Gallery collection.

Alongside acquisitions of the Centre 5 group, McClelland’s outdoor collection extends through the representation of various significant periods of Australian sculpture from the 1960s onwards. Many of the collection’s works have been acquired through the tax incentive scheme of the Australian Government’s Cultural Gift Program with major public sculptures by Bruce Armstrong, John Kelly, Ken Reinhard, David Wilson, Peter D Cole, Geoffrey Ricardo, Anton McMurray and Richard Goodwin acquired through this valued and important scheme.

Additionally, the biennial McClelland Sculpture Survey & Award provides an opportunity for the continual growth of the outdoor sculpture collection, primarily through the acquisitive McClelland Award. Past acquisitions through this award include Lisa Roet’s White ape 2005, Rick Amor’s Relic 2006, Louise Paramor’s Top shelf 2010 and Greg Johns’ At the centre (There is nothing) 2012.


 



Peter CORLETT
Tarax play sculpture (1969)
Ferro-cement, enamel paint
360.0 x 1100.0 x 1300.0 cm
On loan from the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased with the assistance of Tarax and Milton Johnson & Associates, 1969
Photograph by Dan Magree
©The artist



Peter CORLETT
Melbourne, Victoria, 1944 -


Tarax play sculpture (1969)

In 1968, Victorian sculptor Peter Corlett undertook what would be the first in an extensive history of public commissions. Creating a work distinctly abstract and monumental in scale, in contrast to his well known figurative sculptures, this work, Tarax play sculpture (1969) was commissioned for the new National Gallery of Victoria building on St Kilda Road, Melbourne.

The name refers to a Melbourne soft-drink bottle brand, Tarax, established as a public company in 1959, before becoming a part of Cadbury-Schweppes in 1972. Tarax had a history of engagement with children's activities, primarily being the sponsor of a daily children’s variety television program launched in 1957 as ‘The Happy Show’, later renamed ‘The Tarax Show’.

Tarax play sculpture (1969), through its circular white forms, references the bubbles of the iconic Tarax soft drink. As indicated by the title, the work is intended as a play piece for children, who are free to explore the many facets of the sculpture. Tarax play sculpture, which is on long-term loan to McClelland from the National Gallery of Victoria, promotes interactive, tactile experiences, making it a unique and iconic work within the McClelland Sculpture Park.

 

 

 

 



John KELLY
Alien 2006
Corten steel
394.0 x 360.0 x 32.0 cm
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gift Program by Bill Nuttall and Annette Reeves, 2009
Photograph by Mark Chew
©The artist





John KELLY
Bristol, United Kingdom 1965 -
arrived Melbourne, Victoria Australia 1965
lives and works in West Cork, Ireland


Alien 2006

John Kelly is concerned with art and cultural history.  He appropriates from the modernist traditions of the 1940s and he has a particular reverence for the art of Australian painters William Dobell and Sidney Nolan. Kelly is best known for his paintings and sculptures based on ‘Dobell’s cows’, however more recently his works have incorporated two principal motifs, one derived from Nolan’s Boy and the moon (Moonboy) c1939-40; the other from the elements of a kangaroo and sun that form the logo of the Australia Council for the Arts.

Kelly’s imposing sculpture Alien 2006, is an appropriation of Sidney Nolan’s painting Boy and the moon (Moonboy) c1939-40 held in the collection of the National Gallery of Australia. For Kelly the reintroduction of Boy and the moon (Moonboy) becomes a symbol of the progression of Australian art, highlighting the relevance of past movements and periods, and their relationship to and influence on contemporary Australian art. This transportation of Nolan’s Moonboy is signified in the title- Alien, referring to an ‘other’, from an unknown time or place. The distancing of past and present is further highlighted through the radical shifts in material and scale used to transform Moonboy to Alien, substituting paint with Corten steel and dramatically increasing the scale of the work. Alien is embedded in external quotation and self reference, providing an example of Kelly’s use of recurring styles and motifs that position his body of work as recognisable brand in and of itself.

 


 


 

 

Anton McMURRAY
Monument to the First International 2010
Atlantic cedar, oak
635.0 x 92.0 x 81.0 cm
Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program
Photograph by John Gollings
©The artist

 

Anton McMURRAY
London, United Kingdom 1973 -
arrived Melbourne, Victoria, Australia 1974
lives and works Ferny Creek, Victoria, Australia


Monument to the First International 2010

Anton McMurray’s large-scale sculpture Monument to the First International 2010, exhibited in the 2010 McClelland Sculpture Survey & Award, is a reference to the Russian Constructivist artist and architect Vladimir Tatlin’s unrealised Monument to the Third International (1919), which was a visionary modernist industrial building and monument to the utopian ideals of the Bolshevik Revolution. McMurray’s monument suggestively predates Tatlin’s, alluding to a prior idealistic period of harmony between civilisation and nature.

Working primarily as a sculptor, McMurray creates intricately carved works from wood and sometimes bronze, on both small and monumental scales. His artistic practice is heavily influenced by the aesthetics and techniques of traditional cultures and informed by the fields of architecture, history and culture. Specifically, these influences range from the cultures of Spain, Japan and Papua New Guinea, to indigenous tribes from the West Coast of Canada. McMurray draws upon these styles and techniques, highlighting the beauty of the material’s natural state in his finished works, while using organic materials such as oak and Atlantic cedar and traditional carving techniques, as seen in Monument to the First International.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Clement MEADMORE
Paraphernalia 1999
aluminium, black paint
244.0 x 183.0 x 132.5 cm
Purchased Elisabeth Murdoch Sculpture Foundation, 2000
Photograph by Mark Ashkanasy
©The artist


 

Clement MEADMORE
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia 1929 -
New York, United States of America 2005


Paraphernalia 1999

During the 1960s, in response to a period where modernist sculpture reigned, Clement Meadmore explored and experimented with the formal attributes and geometric qualities of modernist conventions. He took the conventional rectangular shape and elongated and contorted it, morphing the shape’s harsh lines into softer curves and arcs.

Paraphernalia 1999, like Meadmore’s practice more broadly, simultaneously references minimalism, through the simplified form, and abstract expressionism, through the form's fluid gestural curves.This intuitive curvature of geometric shapes gave Meadmore’s works a gestural quality that separated his practice from conventional modern sculpture.

Meadmore’s use of a single contorted rectangle was a conscious attempt to promote the work as one whole, rather than a series of parts. Further enhancing the work as a clearly uniform piece is the use of a single tone. Meadmore has asserted that his use of black is for aesthetic, rather than symbolic reasons. While coloured surfaces will appear as different tones depending on the angle from which they are viewed, the black surface assures a uniform colour, reinforcing the work as a unified whole, rather than a series of planes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Louise PARAMOR
Top shelf 2010
Plastic, steel, pins, bolts, paint
560.0 x 230.0 x 230.0 cm
McClelland Award, 2010
Photograph by John Gollings
©The artist





 

Louise PARAMOR
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia 1964 -
lives and works Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


Top shelf 2010

Louise Paramor’s sculptures playfully recall the history of the ready-made art object, as conglomerations of seemingly random objects, merging seamlessly into a complete piece. Paramor often recycles found objects in her sculptures, elevating mundane, everyday domestic or industrial utilitarian objects to interesting and aesthetic forms.

Paramor’s boldly coloured, large-scale assemblage Top shelf 2010, like her works more broadly, was realised organically. Paramor’s art making process is intuitive; she does not seek out specific objects in order to fulfil a predetermined concept or vision, rather she allows the process to progress naturally. While somewhat abstract visually, Top shelf conceptually engages with a broad range of ideas surrounding consumerism, namely desire and waste. Paramor’s creations draw attention to what is essentially material discarded from previous consumption, in a playful investigation into the value of what we discard, and the appeal of the new.

Consumerism and waste are explored more specifically in Top shelf, in which this accumulation of disparate objects are located on the abandoned top shelf. As an outdoor sculpture, this work further references the effects of these discarded possessions on the environment, while the scale of the industrial materials mimic and enhance the playful qualities of found domestic plastic objects. Top shelf won the McClelland Sculpture Survey & Award aquisitive award in 2010.


 

 

 

 


 

Lenton PARR
Customs House screen 1966
bronze, steel
870.0 x 581.0 x 35.0 cm
Gift of Yarraview Properties Pty Ltd., 1997
Photograph by Mark Chew
©The artist




 

Lenton PARR
Melbourne, Victoria Australia 1924 -2003


Customs House screen 1966

Customs House screen 1966 reflects many of Lenton Parr’s ideologies surrounding sculpture, as a member of the Centre 5 group of sculptors who actively promoted collaborative projects between artists and architects. A further ideology explored by Parr involved the enhancement of vast voids between shapes, in an attempt to reject the traditional assumption that sculptural forms must have a solid core. Parr has stated his aim for his sculpture was to possess and promote a personality, moving beyond mere inanimate objects by embracing a more gestural aesthetic.

His early steel works have a distinct biomorphic quality, an element which later shifted to an engagement with geometric abstraction, before creating increasingly organic shapes, such as his delicate ribbon-like forms. Customs House screen embraces this aesthetic, with its delicate intricacies and series of abstract components.

Customs House screen was commissioned by and installed at the former Customs House on Williams Street in Melbourne in 1966, where it was situated at the entrance until the building was eventually sold. Within this framed and densely urban location of the Melbourne CBD, Parr’s sculpture provided this desired personality to Customs House. Having been relocated to McClelland in 2005, Customs House screen is now reinvigorated in the open expanses of the Sculpture Park, where its scale and materials are juxtaposed with the surrounding environment.

 

 

 

 

 


 

Norma REDPATH
Desert Arch 1964
bronze
125.0 x 324.0 x 225.0 cm
Gift of Mr Rupert Murdoch, 1990
Photograph by Dan Magree
©The artist

 

Norma REDPATH
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia 1928 - 2013


Desert arch 1964

While Norma Redpath’s artistic practice initially focused on painting, after studying in Italy in the early 1950s she began a shift toward sculpture, carving works from stone and wood. Her practice subsequently shifted again to bronze, which allowed her to work more quickly during the modelling process. It was following this material shift that Redpath’s sculpture Desert arch 1964 was created. Using bronze, Redpath began to create abstracted forms reminiscent of distinct features of the Australian landscape, being influenced simultaneously by Australian modernist painters and Italian civic sculptors.

Desert arch acts as a gateway to the vast Australian landscape, aesthetically reflecting the harshness of the desert through its solid forms, textured surface areas and deep bronze tones. Like much of Redpath’s work, Desert arch further references architectural forms, the arch being a recurring motif within her work, extending from the solid core of the sculpture while remaining a part of this core. This abstracted form communicates the harshness of the natural environment and draws attention to human interventions into the environment, seamlessly merging the bi-continental influences on Redpath’s practice.

 

 

 

 


 


Lisa ROET
White ape 2005
coated fibreglass, Corten steel base
310.0 x 300.0 x 150.0 cm
McClelland Award, 2005
Photograph by John Gollings
©The artist


 

Lisa ROET
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia 1967 -


White ape 2005

In White ape 2005, Lisa Roet places the ape at the level of an esteemed human leader, in a sculpture reminiscent of monumental tributes to noblemen or royalty. Such sculptures are commonly displayed as a means of commemorating figures predating us and whose decisions, actions and progress have distinctly informed our contemporary thoughts and ways of living.

White ape, through its monumental scale and raised platform, subverts traditional hierarchies by elevating the primate to human level, situating primates within the history of human progress. Ultimately, the work highlights the similarities between humans and primates, as well as foregrounding the need for acknowledgement and respect of the animal kingdom.

Roet’s body of work, while varying broadly in terms of medium, has consistently explored man’s relationships with apes - our closest relatives. Her practice merges science and art, as her works become visual documentations of the interpretations and insights she has gained through broad research, observations and interactions with her subjects. Roet’s study of apes has been first-hand, as she has conducted extensive fieldwork in zoos internationally that informs her studies and presentations of primates. White ape won the McClelland Sculpture Survey & Award aquisitive award in 2005.

 

 

 

 


 


Ken UNSWORTH
Annulus 2007
stone, stainless steel, galvanised steel
1500.0 x 600.0 x 600.0 cm
Commissioned by the Elisabeth Murdoch Sculpture Foundation  2007, in memory of Ann Miller (1938-2005)
Photograph by Mark Chew
©The artist



 

Ken UNSWORTH
Richmond, Victoria, Australia 1931 -
lives and works Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


Annulus 2007

Annulus 2007, like many of Ken Unsworth’s works, is to a large extent ambiguous and open to personal interpretations and experiences. The title Annulus, Latin for little ring, refers to a flat, ringed shape, in which two circles share a common centre. This geometric stone formation recalls spiritual and cultural connotations, while a sense of the past and loss is evoked through the stillness and weight of the stones. The work finds a beautiful equilibrium that seems to defy gravity, as the river stones are transformed into levitating elements rather than weighted masses. This intervention, shifting the meaning or purpose of an object without altering its physicality, is key to Unsworth’s practice. The balancing of weighted stones within a delicate web, highlighted by the shifting shadows with changes of light, promotes Annulus as a work which is simultaneously aesthetic, conceptual and emotional.

Unsworth’s art often relates to the nexus between art and death, as he explores the transformative potential of art, both in terms of reshaping ideas or perceptions, and altering the function of the object itself. His body of work is theatrical; the scale is commonly large and the works often appear contradictory, with elements appearing to defy their natural states. Unsworth has asserted that he enjoys producing works that are not clearly associated with any specific period of time; work that could blur lines between the contemporary and the ancient. Annulus, through its stone material, geometric form and monumental scale, is successful in this feat.

 

 

 

 

 


 


Teisutis ZIKARAS
Untitled (GPO) 1964
bronze
200.0 x 150.0 x 75.0 cm
Gift of Australia Post, 1993
Photograph by Mark Chew
©The artist






 

Teisutis ZIKARAS
Panevzys, Lithuania 1922 - Melbourne, Victoria, Australia 1991
arrived Australia 1949

 


Untitled (Eta) 1961-62 (cast 2009) and
Untitled (GPO) 1964

While working across a wide variety of mediums, Lithuanian born sculptor Teisutis Zikaras’ subject matter has almost exclusively surrounded figurative sculpture, commonly the human body. Two of Zikaras’ few ventures away from sculptures exploring the human form were the result of public commissions; one for the GPO building in central Melbourne in 1961, the other in 1964 for the rear garden of the Eta Factory in Baybrook.

Originally, Untitled (Eta) 1962 -62 was comprised of two abstracted pod forms in cast aluminium. However, the original work was badly damaged by vandals, and as a result a bronze version was recast for the McClelland collection in 2009.

Untitled (GPO) also engages this organic abstraction, with its simple curved form recalling a crescent, cast in bronze. Each work was originally displayed surrounded by a series of small water jets, before its installation in the natural surroundings of the McClelland grounds. While some consider these works as pure abstraction, others find a figurative reference to the peanuts produced by the ETA factory, or to seeds and pods of the Australian bush as a prevalent element of the work, this interpretation being heightened within its current location.