Tag Archives: art

Sculpture in the Gardens 2013

Auckland Botanic Gardens
9 November 2013 – 16 February 2014

The beautiful flowers and nicely trimmed trees have been taken over by horses, rabbits, crabs, giant ants and a magpie. Nope, I’m not having bizarre dreams. The weird and wonderful world of art has appeared in the Auckland Botanic Gardens, with twenty nine sculptures installed for the Summer. These sculptures are set upon a two kilometre trail that meanders through the picturesque gardens.

They’ve even gone ‘techie’ this year. QR codes are available at each installation for you to scan and view videos on the art work, creative process or artist.

Opening day was bustling, with many families and groups of friends packing a picnic and making a day of it. Our group of four adults and four children had a blast, enjoying a gentle stroll in the sun.

Here is a run down of some of our favourite sculptures on display this year;

I believe that you should be able to touch and feel art. None of this admire from afar business. And, the kids in our group agree. So, they absolutely loved Oliver Stretton-Pow’s ‘Rooks‘. They could chase each other around the sculpture and pop their heads (and bodies) inside the pieces. Loads of fun! The big shady trees make this the perfect place to stop for a picnic lunch and a spot of people watching.

CelesteReviews Rooks Oliver Stretton-Pow

Rooks by Oliver Stretton-Pow

Nearby, just waiting for the knight in shining armour to jump atop, is ‘The White Horse’ by Ben Foster. An angular creation of aluminium and epoxy automotive spray, I loved it’s stark contrast to the greenery surrounding the sculpture. I also love the intrigue this piece causes, as you can glimpse it in the distance from the main entrance of the Gardens and you catch moments of white between the trees as you walk the trail towards it.

CelesteReviews The White Horse by Ben Foster

The White Horse by Ben Foster

According to Bryan Verey, Magpies say “Quardle Oodle Ardle Wardle Doodle”. The beady eyed magpie sitting atop a rustic farm gate in ‘Over the Farm Gate’ brought back a lot of childhood rural memories. I was careful with my glittery jewellery as I passed!

CelesteReveiws Bryan Verey

Over the Farm Gate by Bryan Verey

A picnic in the park isn’t complete without some ants. Three giant bronze ants happily march along the patio of the Visitor’s Centre towards Jim Wheeler’s two ‘Regeneration’ installations.
CelesteReviews Samantha Lissette Sculpture

Part of “Atta Mediae” by Samantha Lissette

CelesteReviews Jim Wheeler Sculpture in the Gardens

Regenration: Oak Garden Fork & Regeneration: Oak Garden Spade by Jim Wheeler

The talented Llew Summers was invited to exhibit his work again this year, developing ‘Ariel’ from his fascination with wings. Be sure you also view his gorgeous ‘Butterfly’ bronze situated on the lawn in front of the cafe. It’s one of my favourites and is a permanent sculpture at the Gardens.

CelesteReviews Ariel Llew Summers

Ariel by Llew Summers

Croc Dundee would be proud of size of the knife served up by Michael Klaja and Gordon Smith. The hubby particularly liked this piece of art, aptly named ‘Carving up the Land’. (Image to follow – sorry, my photo was blurry).

My nieces (aged 4 and 6) thought the ‘rabbit and the crab’ were fun, but the crab was a little scary. Rabbit and Crabby have a great position, looking out over the rose gardens.

CelesteReviews Jamie Pickernell

Oh Crabby I do believe we’re rather last! by Jamie Pickernall

Clever use of woven corrugated iron and timber create ‘Home Sweet Home’ by Jeff Thomson. This fun installation is vibrant among the trees.

CelesteReviews Jeff Thomson

Home Sweet Home by Jeff Thomson

I would have loved to have been able to get up closer to ‘Flotilla’. I enjoyed Lucy Bucknall’s Otter piece on the Brick Bay Sculpture Trail in Snells Beach, so I was really interested to see this installation. However, set in the upper lake, you couldn’t quite make out all the animals and facial expressions that I’m sure make this sculpture delightful.

CelesteReviews Flotilla by Lucky Bucknall and Andy MacVicar

Flotilla by Lucky Bucknall and Andy MacVicar

Spring is a magical time of the year to visit the Gardens.  The smells and colour on show are a feast for the senses. Don’t forget to also take a peek at the permanent art works that are also on display around the property.

Top Tip: It’s FREE to visit the Auckland Botanic Gardens, so pack a picnic and make a day of it.

In a Nutshell: A wonderful way to spend a Summer’s Day.

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Mad Max meets Dr Who

CelesteReviews Steampunk HQ Logo

Steampunk HQ Logo

Steampunk HQ
1 Itchen Street, Oamaru

Take steam powered machinery and other random items from 19th century Victorian England, add a twist of Sci Fi and fantasy, and sprinkle with an unsettling undercurrent of Goth and horror. Mix together with a post-apocalyptic feel and a sprinkle of artistic historical drama, and I give you Steampunk HQ, “Oamaru styles”. Or, in their words, “Tomorrow, as it used to be”.

My interpretation?  Imagine an alternative Victorian future, where Mad Max meets Dr Who. By far the weirdest interactive art installation that I’ve ever encountered.

It’s not for everyone’s palate. A prior appreciation for the essence of the Steampunk genre goes a long way in attempting to understand this artistic expression.

CelesteReviews Steampunk train

From the outside of the historic Meeks Grain Elevator Building in Oamaru’s Victorian Precinct, you are greeted by an impressive steam train spouting flames, an interesting motorcycle, a kaleidoscope machine with an airship hanging overhead. Surely, you know you are in for more than your usual art gallery experience.

CelesteReviews Steampunk Motorcycle

Motorcycle and Kaleidoscope

CelesteReviews Steampunk

Pop $2 into the train to see it flame and smoke

CelesteReviews Steampunk Oamaru

Steampunk HQ Artist, Jac Grenfell

Lounging against the train, we bumped into Jac Grenfell, one of the artists of Steampunk HQ and a quirky fellow himself. He explained how there is an unrealistic perception that the Victorian era was all this lovely elegance, when really it was a hard and bleak time in history. So, they’ve taken Victorian items and provided a more serious artistic perspective of the Industrial Revolution, but in a fun and quirky manner.

Their artistic spin dramatises how humans and machines from this era interact. Which segues nicely to Steampunk HQ’s logo (see above)  incorporating a cog (machine) and skull (human).

CelesteReviews Steampunk

Maze Portal – gateway to Steampuk HQ’s inner dimensions

Stepping into the first darkened room, you feel you’ve stepped back in time, but into the future. Strange contraptions peer through the rising steam and machines whir as your eyes adjust to the low level of light.

Some of the art is downright spooky. Especially the eerie collection of vintage dentist chairs clustered here and there. Peering down through a glass window in the floor, a vintage dentist chair is set in a gloomy dungeon. I honestly felt that I was about to witness a scene from a SAW horror movie.

Other works provided a little humour, such as the ‘Maze Portal’, providing a gateway to the inner dimensions of Steampunk HQ.

CelesteReviews Steampunk Oamaru

Cheerful tractor driver

Bigger installations and other curious machines feature in the second room. A large boat, complete with pitchfork wielding captain at the helm, peers through the rising smoke at a skulled rider atop a steam powered tractor. Several old fashioned dental chairs recline in a semi circle to watch a themed Steampunk short film, while in the corner sits a portal to unexplained mysterious dimensions.

CelesteReviews Steampunk Oamaru

Boat with pitchfork wielding Captain

My husband described the yard area as having the post-apocalyptic feel of the computer game ‘Fallout’. It is filled with machines and parts, in different stages of artistic completion. An impressive black locomotive carriage is the largest piece situated in the yard, kitted out with a spiky mane and other mysterious adornments. Make sure you clamber on top of the carriage, for an alternative view of the heavy metal devices (the jury is still out on the purpose of the giant bell hanging from an oversized bath plug chain).

CelesteReviews Steampunk Oamaru

Locomotive in the yard area (note the bell and chain contraption – top right)

Casting your eyes skyward, there are more unusual sights to behold. Giant flies swarm the side of the historic building, while a skeletal fisherman tries his luck from the top of the building.

CelesteReviews Steampunk Oamaru

The Yard (note the flies on the building and the fisherman on the roof)

We loved the freedom of Steampunk HQ. There are no barriers or prescriptive route of the order to view the artworks. You are left on your own to explore and be delighted with what you discover. With so much to take in, I’m sure that no two visitors will have the same experience.

Jac ensures us that the Steampunk HQ team has a lot of development plans in the pipeline, including a room of infinite mirrors. So, stay tuned for more adventures.

I’m not sure I’ll ever fully understand all of the work included in Steampunk HQ, but we thoroughly enjoyed our hour of weird and wonderful entertainment.

CelesteReviews Steampunk Oamaru

Aethertractor, situated outside the Information Centre

Entry: It’s $10 per adult to explore the yard and inside works. You can also put coins in the outside attractions (steam train, airship, etc) to see them in action.

In a Nutshell: Take an open mind, and prepare to be  immersed in a strange and quirky alternative world.

Top Tip: It could be a bit scary for youngsters (low light levels, skulls, smoke and dramatic lighting), but I imagine brave boys would love the machinery. Also look out for other Steampunk artwork around town.


Carnivorous Zombie Ladybirds

Brick Bay Sculpture Trail

The trail

Brick Bay Sculpture Trail
Arabella Lane, Snells Beach

Did the title catch your eye? Well we will get to that part soon… It was a humid, soggy morning, when we set off on the Brick Bay Sculpture Trail, map in hand. The track starts from the architecturally designed Glass House, perched on the edge of a lake. Through bush, around lakes and into small grassed areas, we meandered our way along the 2 km trail admiring the interesting contemporary works of art.

I was armed with the camera, taking photos and trying to keep up with the hubby, while he read the artwork descriptions from the trail map. Yes, a man who used a map (now that’s a work of art). He was also great at locating the hard to find installations, as although most of the pieces are positioned in obvious spots (grassed areas, on water, high on hills), there are a few hiding up trees. During our trek, the hubby and I had many an interesting ‘discussion’ regarding these descriptions and trying to define what constitutes art. Combining two of my passions (and since this is my blog, not his), my belief is that art is like wine – everyone has different tastes, and the same glass/artwork will taste different or mean different things to different people.

Brick Bay Sculpture Walk

Brick Corkscrew – Peter Lange

Here are some of my highlights:

Artful Wine – Wine and art do somehow seem to complement each other. Some of you may even remember a previous post I wrote about visiting a sculpture display at a Carterton Vineyard. I’m a big fan of both, so I was impressed by the large corkscrew sculpture made with bricks. Aptly named ‘Brick Corkscrew‘, this piece was created by Peter Lange to blend together the art and wine found at Brick Bay. This artist is also the creator of brick Caravan, located outside the Museum on Hamilton’s Victoria Street, and the eye catching lounger on Karangahape Road, Auckland, that the Caluzzi Bar and Cabaret ‘girls’ perform on.

Play on Words – Visitors to Lorne Street, Auckland, will be familiar with the granite works of Mary-Louise Browne. Her installation at Brick Bay (Meteorol) is in a similar style, with steps that lead you from the words ‘RAIN’ to ‘MIST’, with one letter changing on each step to create another word.

Awaiting Transportation - :ucy Bucknall

Awaiting Transportation – Lucy Bucknall

Thought Provoking – Both hubby and I thought ‘Awaiting Transportation‘ by Lucy Bucknall, was the most thought provoking artwork on the trail. Created in phosphor bronze, it speaks to immigration and displacement created through war, depicted through Mr and Mrs Otter, dressed in their finery with suitcases at their feet. I really liked the placement of the installation, at the end of the crisscrossed boardwalk.

Brick Bay Sculpture Trail, Awaiting Transportation Lucy Bucknall

Close up of Otters

Look Up and Look Down – You have to remember to not just look at the path. I loved the finish of Chris Hargreaves’ ‘Artificial Stations for Preceding Atmospheric Movement‘. The box kite hanging in the trees is decorated with clouds and sky. While ‘Mahoe‘ by Jeff Thomson, provides a colourful installation of corrugated iron Mahoe leaves on the bush floor.

Brick Bay Sculpture Trail

Artificial Stations for Preceding Atmospheric Movement – Chris Hargreaves

Brick Bay Sculpture Trail

Mahoe – Jeff Thomson

Brick Bay Sculpture Tail

Incendiary Artwork – David McCracken

The Kids Will Love – Here are three pieces of artwork which should keep the kids interested along the walk.

David McCraken’s shiny bomb ‘Incendiary Artwork‘ and rocket ‘Squeeze Me (Offensive)

Three bright giant windmills, that reminded me of going to a country fair as a child – ‘The Memory Windmills‘, by Leon van den Ejkel

Honey I shrunk the sheep – loads of little sheep wearing numbered jerseys. Gregor Kregar’s tribute to the Rugby World Cup, ‘Matthew 12:12 Cup 2011

Brick Bay Sculpture Trail

Matthew 12:12 Cup 2011 – Gregor Kregar

Mirror, Mirror – Gregor Kregar is also the artist of ‘Fragmented Interactions‘, a towering stainless steel sculpture that reflects its environment – bush, sky (well, grey clouds on the day we visited), and you, as you walk by.

Brick Bay Sculpture Trail

Fragmented Interactions – Gregor Kregar

Loo with a View – Tracey Tawhiao decorates an out-house with bright graffiti-style Wairuaatua symbols. Further around the track there were also similarly decorated spades and garden forks hanging through the trees.

Brick Bay Sculpture Trail

Wairuaatua – Tracey Twahiao

Using Your Head – My sixth form art folio focused on bodies as landscape forms. So, I quite liked the huge corten steel face of ‘Tor‘ by Richard Wedekind.

Brick Bay Sculpture Walk

Tor – Richard Wedekind

Brick Bay Sculpture Trail

Mine – Laura Marsh

Outside the Box – The weirdest ‘art’  installation for me was Laura Marsh’s ‘Mine‘. A huge wooden box, with a swing door, with the word ‘Mine’ subtly displayed inside. But, once again, each to their own.

Shhhh, Listen!  The art on display was not all visual. There were also a couple of audio artworks on the trail. At the top of the Kauri Climb section, there were three sets of large brightly coloured trumpet shapes which you put to your ears to listen through (‘Listen – Stop‘ by Phil Dadson), as well as a thirty voice choral interpretation of Amazon frogs, that starts when you walk onto a jetty (‘The Sex Choir‘ by Sam Hamilton) and a scary male voice that whispers through the trees at you when you are walking through a thick bush area (‘Spoken Indexes‘ by Dean Roberts).

Brick Bay Sculpture Trail

The ladders in your stockings go up to your suspenders – Antionette Ratcliffe

Not ‘actual’ art, but artful, none the less, we were also treated to the melodic tunes of the native tui during our walk, and saw many fantails flittering along beside us. As we emerged from the bush, we discovered one of my favourite installations on the Sculpture Walk…

Carnivorous Zombie Ladybirds – Yes, you heard right!

Antionette Ratcliffe’s ‘The ladders in your stockings go up to your suspenders‘ was one piece of art that both hubby and I agreed was very cool. Dozens of painted ceramic ladybirds (complete with fangs) taking over an oak tree. See, they never show you what happened to the ladybirds on The Walking Dead, so now I know.

Brick Bay Sculpture Trail

Carnivorous Zombie Ladybirds

I dare say I’ll come home one day to find hubby has glued plastic animals to our tree trunks to make them more interesting. Should be fun.

The trail takes about an hour and is an easy walk, although the Kauri Climb makes for a good step aerobics routine. There are plenty of benches dotted along the path should you need a rest stop, and take care if it has been raining, as the wooden boardwalks become a tad slippery.

The sculptures change on a regular basis, and all the art work is for sale.

Admission to walk the Trail is $12 per adult and the last entry is 4 pm.

Top Tip: Wear appropriate footwear. Make sure you leave enough time for a coffee or wine from the Glass House when your walk is finished. You will have earned a treat by then and I can highly recommend their chocolate brownie.


Artful Vines

Sculpture in the Country

Gladstone Vineyard, Carterton

Recently, on a work trip to the Wairarapa, I stumbled across the bi-annual art event ‘Sculpture in the Country’ at Gladstone Vineyard.

This was the third ‘Sculpture in the Country’ event to be held, and the first to have the exterior art on display at a vineyard. Over 45 artists from around the country contributed over 100 sculptures, with visitors able to purchase the exhibition pieces.

Crocodile - Sculpture in the Country

Imagine this lurking beside your lake, although the ducks don't look scared - Crocodile by Carl Gifford

Along with wine (well the sculptures were placed in a vineyard), attendees could also enjoy live music. The event raised money for Wairarapa Women’s Refuge.

I loved the way some of the sculptures were arranged within the natural environment of the Gladstone Vineyard property, especially Crocodile, by Carl Gifford, emerging from the lake.

The sculptures were extremely varied in style and the material used.

Here are photos of some of my favourite sculptures on display:

Roaring Stag - Sculpture in the Country

A clever use  of native driftwood, this sculpture and was very impressive when rounding the bend of the vineyard’s driveway – Roaring Stag by Jack Marsden-Mayer.

Dragonfly - Sculpture in the Country

The wings of this artwork moved in the wind. Odanatas Reprise by Doug Kennedy ($9,990).

Car Sculpture - Sculpture in the Country

Qualis Vita Finis Ita was created by Niko Thomsen. The old car has hundreds of bugs, made from milk steel, crawling over and inside the vehicle. This piece was on sale for $13,000, so I admired from afar, plus it would never have fitted in my suitcase back to Auckland.

Winery Dogs

Every winery should have a dog, and I thought these two were gorgeous.

Art in the trees - Sculpture in the Country

Hells Bells ($1,150) was created by J & R Nott/Hassall. Strung up between two trees, the bells tinkled in the wind.

Cork Sculpture

I’m imagining this would be from a very large bottle of Bubbles. After Dinner Play, made from wood and steel by Doug Kennedy ($5,000).

Bull Sculpture

An intricate work of barbed wire and steel from artist, Brett Harman, created Hurricane ($14,000).

Chair Sculpture

Chairs balancing between the vines, made from zinc and granite. The Opposeat by Ben Beemsterboer.

Jigsaw Art

Stueart Welsh used Corten Steel to create this giant jigsaw piece, called Piece of Sky.

In a nutshell: Wine, music, food and art. A lovely way to discover the Wairarapa.