Gareth Graham

Winner 2006

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Artist Statement

Gareth Graham's sculptures are about the human form. He is interested in the way in which personal experiences and associations are inextricably linked to our perception of the figure, making each interpretation slightly different. His figures, in wood and marble, are an attempt to express human experiences, thoughts and feelings. He wants them to connect with people on an emotional/empathetic level. The fragmented or partial forms leave room for the imagination thus avoiding overt meaning.

The figures Gareth creates in Huon Pine are at once realistic yet also sculptural interpretations. The surface treatment and inclusion of natural defects in the timber removes them from literal representation. For this reason, process is central to Gareth's practice. He wants the viewer to be aware of this process and to appreciate it as partof the artwork yet at the same time only seeing the finished surfaces. He wants, in the words of Ricky Swallow, 'the time spent in the studio to add significance to the viewing experience'.

More information on Gareth's work is available on his website.

Recent Works

In Stone

John Miller Gallery Exhibition


Tighes Hill Gallery Exhibition

Commissioned Work

Art Career Beginnings

My decision to attend art school at the University of Newcastle was determined by my keen interest in and enjoyment of art-making which I developed throughout my high school years. Coupled with this was the desire to expand my horizons as an artist by undertaking the formal study of art through the Bachelor degree.

My intention was to develop a broader understanding of contemporary art and art issues having focused strongly on classical and “traditional” art practice throughout my schooling. My intention was to also deepen my technical and conceptual capacity in the making of artworks. Ceramics became my medium of choice, supplementing and augmenting my self-taught reduction sculpture practice. Building from the ground up in clay became a significant processual and technical interest area for me as I developed understanding and skills in the field.

As a figurative sculptor my inspiration is drawn from the human form. More specifically, my interest lies in what the human form conveys through gesture and expression. I am interested in human experience expressed through the body and how the viewer is able to interpret from an empathetic perspective, yet at the same time, how each interpretation can vary based on the individual’s experiences. I am also interested in aesthetics as a mode of expression.

My early influences were artists such as Michelangelo and Rodin in particular having seen original works by these artists during a trip to Europe in late high school. While there, I was also fascinated by the casts of the victims from Pompeii. Since then, my influences have expanded though my university studies to encompass a range of artists who work within sculptural practice and those who work with and examine the human form.  Among these artists are Ricky Swallow, Alex Seton, Ron Muek, Antony Gormley, George Segal, Bill Henson, Tim Noble and Sue Webster.

While my current traditional process driven practice continues to draw from classical roots, my understanding of broader conceptual, aesthetic and process based issues continues to inform and inspire my work.

My Jennie Thomas Travelling Scholarship Experience

Winning the Jennie Thomas Travelling Art Scholarship gave me a wonderful opportunity to travel to one of my most inspirational places, the hub of traditional sculpture, Carrara in Italy. While there, I had the opportunity to work in marble and to meet and develop a small network of artists, artisans and locals who have become a significant basis for my intended regular return visits.

Since travelling on the scholarship, I have returned twice more in different capacities, building on my connections to the place. In 2011, I spent 10 weeks sculpting at a studio in Carrara and produced an exhibition which was shipped back to Newcastle and exhibited later that year at the Lock Up gallery.

    Gareth working in Carrara (2010) and with a large marbel block in Carrara (2011)

Beyond The Scholarship

I have been teaching high school art in a part time capacity for the last 10 years or so and in 2010, completed my Master of Teaching (Visual Art). I see this profession as one which I will continue to be part of in some way or other throughout my life as I consider it an important and fulfilling endeavor. Balancing this with my own practice can be challenging sometimes, but I have so far managed to exhibit regularly and commit to projects that arise.

Since 2012 I have been teaching full time which takes a bigger commitment and provides less time for my own work. However, I am working towards my debut solo exhibition in Sydney at the end of the year (2013) at the Trevor Victor Harvey Gallery. I see myself as working between part time and full time teaching depending on my sculpting commitments. I enjoy doing commissioned pieces and can be contacted through my website.

In Stone Exhibition(2011)

These sculptures are made from one of the worlds most famous white statuario marbles, known as the Michelangel Statuario, from the Michelangelo Quarries. This is the same stone that Michelangelo used for a lot of his pieces.

The works were made in Carrara on two seperate trips and shipped back for exhibition.

Exhibition at John Miller Gallery (2009)

The works in this exhibition are about the relationship between figure and object. The cup has been used as a simple aesthetic device contrasting with the form of the figure. However this relationship is deliberately down played, almost arbitrary and by so being, I want it essentially to be a subtle shift in meaning. This meaning is not stated and is not intended to be explicit. My intentions are for the work to evoke in the viewer a response according to individual perception and association.

Felons, at John Paynter Gallery (2008)

This is an installation of portraits of characters. The title Felons relates to the context in which the works are exhibited which is an old police lockup cell and also as a way of providing the viewer with a distinct yet open ended theme that sets up an interplay of interpretation and conjecture about the subjects and their narratives.

Exhibition at Tighes Hill Gallery (2005)

The works in this exhibition are a series of figurative studies. As my first solo exhibition they are exploring aspects of style and format and how the human form, in particular the face, can be expressed through sculpture and how this expression can be interpreted by the viewer. Through the face, I am interested in conveying as sense of thought or inner activity within the inert sculptural material.

Commissioned Works

In conjunction to producing works for exhibition, commissions have increasingly formed a significant part of my practice. These images are of works produced for clients, a number of them are portrait sculptures. I am always interested in commissioned work and feel free to contact me to discuss ideas or possibilities.

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