Monday, November 3, 2014

Wollombi's Perfect (Back) Drops! Sculpture in the Vineyards 2014

Ross Fletcher - Ponder. Image ©AP
Sculpture In The Vineyards
Monday 27 October - Sunday 30 November 2014. Wollombi, NSW.

Following Wollombi Valley's Sculpture in the Vineyards 2014 trail at the weekend was a real pleasure. From small (but ambitious) beginnings twelve years ago, the exhibition has grown to become an established highlight on the arts calendar, not only for visitors but for the entrants who spend time here installing their works.

The four major venues are the Wollombi Valley Wine Trail's vineyards – Undercliff Winery, Stonehurst Cedar Creek, Wollombi Wines and Wollombi Village Vineyard. Each winery provides its own superb setting and character for the rich diversity of mediums used by over sixty contemporary Australian sculptors.

Anne Gaulton- Untitled   Image ©AP

Curated this year for the first time by Christiane Keys-Statham, Sculpture in the Vineyards is a not for-profit organisation relying on volunteers, professional pro bono support and financial sponsorship   – this year from Destination New South Wales, the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund, Wollombi Valley Progress Association, Cessnock Regional Art Gallery, Cessnock City Council and more.

As Christiane says of the installations: "Showcasing their [the artists'] work in the stunning and historic landscape of the Wollombi Valley is a challenging proposition: the works are at the mercy of the elements and will inevitably respond to their environments in unpredictable ways."

Elyssa Sykes-Smith -Emotional Evolution  Images © AP

For the wineries and the owners who work so hard each year to make this exhibition happen, it is a chance to showcase their vineyards and wines and to help bring visitors to the region to discover the delights of Wollombi Village and the surrounding countryside. This is rewarding  driving country –  car companies are often seen filming along the roads here. (Find fuel  and more at Laguna's Great North Trading Post.)

Wollombi is just under a two-hour drive from Sydney, but those in the know book ahead to stay to enjoy time here to explore or to take part in the events associated with Sculpture In The Vineyards. This year the Education Program includes innovative workshops for schools including postcard making - kids draw or photograph their favourite sculpture and make it into a postcard.

Mike Kitching - Gai-um-Garm
 Image ©AP
Director Tara Morelos has been involved with Sculpture in the Vineyards for eight years and is delighted with the way it has evolved, attracting sculptors from around Australia including Queensland and Tasmania. Now with national recognition, it is gratifying to see the exhibition become an established fixture in the arts world –  a significant achievement  as Tara says. Word is also spreading internationally; one of this year's impressive line-up of judges, the renowned Janet Laurence, flew in from Germany especially for the judging weekend.

Tended and nourished by the wine-makers including founders Phillipa and Daryl Heslop of Stonehurst Cedar Creek and Jane and Peter Hampshere of Undercliff Winery, Wollombi's  sculpture trail is gathering significant traction with each year. With the necessary funding, Tara Morelos can see exciting new directions for the future to benefit the wineries, Wollombi village and New South Wales itself as a destination, attracting both sculptors and art lovers from far and wide.

Akira Kamada - Hira Hira  Image ©AP

Sculptors including Akira Kamada say they'll  be back to exhibit as they love the environment and the whole installation experience at Wollombi. Meaning weightless movement or fluttering in the wind, Hira Hira is the name Akira has given to a number of hanging pieces and this year he has used fabric and hessian tape for a bold creation strung between trees, symbolising renewed energy and freedom.

For the visitor, the first thing to do is to pick up a brochure ($5.00)  and then wend your way through the vineyards, taking time to discover the pieces, large and small, some obvious, some tucked away. The exhibition is designed to appeal to adults and children and includes a separate small sculpture exhibition in the Wollombi Fireshed and a night-time closing ceremony. Don't forget to vote in the People's Choice Award and to try the delicious wines and local produce as you go.

As well as inviting cellar doors, Wollombi has cafes, an iconic country pub, general store, a fascinating museum (check out the convict history) eclectic shops, plus tours to the Mount Yengo National Park with Ngurra Bu.

Stonehurst Cedar Creek Cellar Door Image ©AP

Undercliff Winery: Pink lines in space (Greer Taylor -Inclusion), multi-coloured flying fish (Sharon Ridsdale-Pi-ces School of the Air), a caravan full of childhood memories (Freya Jobbins - Museum of Childhood Memory) and a playful female form doing a handstand (Selena Seifert - Regeneration) are just a few of the sculptures in this beautifully designed vineyard.

Wollombi Village Vineyard: A man's love for his poodle (Kerry Cannon- Poodle Love), humble materials (Jayanto Daminik - White Seeds), a thunderbird (Mick Martin - Thunderbird Sawing) and harmonious polished lines (Larissa Smagarinsky- Achievement) are among the sculptures to discover.

Wollombi Endeavour Museum: See a glass, wood and metal work (Alison Mortiss - Once Was).

Wollombi Wines: Dogs (Belinda Clarke - Companion), happy and colourful snakes ( Emilia Krumm - Asudem), Ned kelly ( Lyndsey Hatchwell - Ned Turns A Corner), grass painting (Anthony Sawrey - Chaos Latticework) a hollow throne ( Lou Steer - Hollow Throne) and getting your head around a rasta steel band (Jannese Parkes - Rasta Steel Band) are a few of the many works.

Stonehurst Cedar Creek: Kinetic fish (Phil Relf - Leonardo's Fish), flowing lines in stainless steel, recycled copper and galvanised pipe (Bev Chalmers - Fantasia & Phantasm), a scientific voyage corroborating the indigenous Australian belief that life came from the stars (Mike Kitching - Gai-um-Garm) a phoenix (Ludwig Micek - Resurrection), a giant wine bottle (Nigel James- Claret Bottle) and delicate intricacies (DoGsWooD - Utopia) are among the sculptures not far from the the cellar door.

Glimpses of DoGsWood - Utopia, left, Mike Kitching - Gai-um- Garm, right.
Image ©AP 
Sculpture In The Vineyards
www.sculpture in the

Undercliff Winery and Gallery

Stonehurst Cedar Creek

Wollombi Wines

Wollombi Village Vineyard

Cessnock Regional Art Gallery

Mandy Pryse-Jones and Simon Savage - We Live In Your World. 'Kite' installation
(glimpsed left) in the vines.

1 comment:

  1. Wollombi's Sculpture in the Vineyards looks inspired, and to think you can do it while sipping your way through this pretty region.