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April Issue 2010
A Few Words From Down Under
About Life, Art and Money
by Judith McGrath
recently attended an exhibition of ten, life-size figure sculptures.
Some were cast in bronze while others were constructed by welding
together a collection of organic shapes cut from metal to create
lace-like forms. All were excellent in concept, construction and
presentation. I have to admit, it was rather 'spooky' at first
as the works were so realistic I thought some of the 'solid' exhibits
might be mimes dipped in paint the colour of old iron.
However, strolling among the inert group of individuals, male and female, clothed and nude, standing on plinths, lying on the floor, leaning against the wall, and a few suspended from the ceiling, provided a rewarding experience. But when I learned about the project, I was even more impressed. It was not only the excellent construction and presentation of the works but how they came to life that had me regaining hope for the art world in my town.
The exhibition was the
result of a group of ten art appreciators who, in a modern-day
Medici-like manner, supported the artist financially and creatively in
exchange for one work each, prior to it even being started.
The group appreciated the artist's style, and commitment to his
craft, so having seen his concept drawings, felt secure in giving
him the freedom to create ten unique, life-size figures, each
reflecting a different aspect of the human condition, in any manner
he chose. There were no constraints put on the artist's creative
decisions by the 'contract', he was free to follow his muse and
work without any advice from his benefactors. Without the worry
of supporting himself and his family, the artist was secure in
home and studio so as to concentrate solely on his commitment.
As well as congratulating the 'backers' on their belief in the artist, I have to congratulate the artist for having the courage to commit to the plan. The sponsors trusted him so he had to trust his own creative and practical abilities so as to acquit his side of the bargain. Not that he is prone to do so; there would be no time for creative blackouts or tantrums. One has to admit, it's easier for the wealthy to find cash than the artist to find his muse.
As luck (or perhaps good sense or pure talent) would have it, the backers approved the artist's designs then stepped aside to let him do his thing while, I suppose, the benefactors had a wonderful time deciding who would get which sculpture.
My hope is that there
are other Medici inspired art patrons out there, not just in my
town but in yours and around the globe, as nurturing artists allows
culture to grow. Remember, of all the creatures that were put
on this earth, Humans are the only ones that can make art!
Do something humane today, buy a small work of art!
Judith McGrath lives
in Kalamunda, Western Australia, 25 minutes east of Perth. She
received a BA in Fine Art and History from the University of Western
Australia. McGrath lectured in Art History and Visual Literacy
at various colleges around the Perth area, and was an art reviewer
for The Sunday
Times and The Western Review both published in the Perth
area. McGrath is currently a freelance writer and reviewer for
various art magazines in Australia. She also co-ordinates the
web site Art Seen in Western Australia found at (http://www.artseeninwa.com).
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