Tag Archives: sculpture

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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A Walk in the Park

Art Sculpture Walk, Auckland Domain

Have you ever seen something from afar, and wondered what it was? Every day I gaze across Grafton Gully to a big white blob sitting in a clearing at the bottom of the Auckland Domain. It finally got the better of me and I turned to trusty Google to investigate, and was informed that it was a sculptures erected in 2004/2005 as part of the Auckland Domain Sculpture Walk.

Guy Nygan - Millennium TreeWanting to know what other sculptures remained hidden in the trees, and needing some exercise, the hubby and I packed up the dog and went on an expedition around the domain.

Armed with a very confusing map and spying a tall silver statue near the Wintergarden, we parked the car, put the dog on her lead, and let the discovery begin.

Straight away I had my first map reading mistake – the shiny futuristic tree, while technically a sculpture, does not make up part of the official Sculpture Walk. Guy Nygan’s “Millennium Tree” was a controversial gift to Auckland in 2000 by the New Zealand Chinese Community, before finally finding its home between the palms in the Domain in 2005.

Christine Hellyar - SpringOn the other side of the road, beyond the Winter Garden Café, we discovered our first official sculpture of the walk, “Spring” by Christine Hellyar. Apparently, this sculpture is to commemorate the volcanic origins of the Domain, with the grooves on the rocks, reminding us of how water is crucial for growth of living things. While I was somewhat underwhelmed by Spring’s impact, and the husband made comments under his breath about people’s interpretation of what art is, the dog found ‘springing’ around the flat rocks behind the fern fronds great fun.

Charlotte Fisher - Arc

After some help from the husband with my less than capable map reading skills, we found the trail leading to the next few sculptures.

Being a sunny, yet very soggy, day underfoot, we didn’t get up too close to Charlotte Fishers “Arc”. The prongs, which to me resembled an upside down rake or someone waving, are actually ancient European petroglyph representations of people in a boat.

Chiara Corbelletto - Numbers are the Language of NatureFurther along the track we encountered “Numbers are the Language of Nature” by Chiara Corbelletto. Now this sculpture made more of an impact! Imagine a giant pattern of golden triangle pillows stacked on a concrete wave base. This artwork was definitely the most fun and lively piece of the sculpture walk.

Near the Stanley Street entrance to the Domain, we finally came face to face with my white blob – Louise Purvis’ creation named “Promise Boat”. Shaped more like a surfboard covered in thick white rope, than a boat, it is created from Italian Bardiglio marble and basalt.

Louise Purvis - Promise Boat

Neil Miller - RegenerationSeveral fantails flitted their may through the ferns, following our path through the Nikau Walk and Glade Path back up to the large grassy, and at this time of year – muddy, spaces.

This is where we found “Regeneration” by Neil Miller, entwining industrialism (steel tower) with nature (vines growing up the structure). The vines changes it’s appearance with the different seasons, to “suggest the constant renewal of life”, hence the name.

Continuing our journey towards the Museum, we passed by many interesting and gnarly shaped trees, which were artistic in their own right, before finding the 1921 Robbie Burns Statue (also not part of the official sculpture trail, but see photo at the bottom of this post) gazing down onto John Edgar’s “Transformer” sculpture. This granite artwork featuring maroon stripes “acknowledges the shaping and re-shaping of stone by natural and human forces”.

John Edgar - Transformer

These sculptures weren’t placed in the Domain to only be viewed. The nice thing about these installations is that they were made to be touched, climbed on and interacted with. The “Transformer”, transforms into a picnic table or seat to kick back and read your newspaper on, while you can imagine kids swinging off “Regeneration”.

Fred Graham - Kaitaki

From here we hiked up the hill to the Museum’s dome entrance to behold Fred Graham’s ‘Kaitiaki’. From up close this steel sculpture reminded me of a giant gray shark fin, but when you step back, the structure takes the shape of a giant bird of prey. My husband voted Kaitiaki as his favourite sculpture, and I must admit, I was a fan too.

Nearing the car, we took a peek inside the Wintergarden. The formal courtyard is surrounded by classical marble statues, with a pond separating the two glass houses. The cool house (opened in 1921) currently features colourful plantings of capsicum and pepper plants, while the opposing tropical glass house includes a fish pond with waterlillies.

Wintergarden, Auckland Domain

Cool House, Wintergarden

Graftings by Greer Twiss

Also included in the Wintergarden is the Fernery. It was here that stumbled upon the last sculpture (well actually sculptures). Hidden between the native plantings stands ten small bronze statues created by Greer Twiss. Dubbed “Graftings” the artworks included – one pear tree, and nine indigenous New Zealand (kiwi, pukeko, wood pigeon, tui and more).

The loop we chose to explore took around 1.5 hours, at a leisurely pace. Although the sculptures weren’t all my cup-of-tea (and I’m the arty one), all three of us enjoyed the unique outdoor experience.

Top Tip: It may pay to enquire within the Museum, at the Information Desk, for a much more detailed map than the one I have linked to above.

In a nutshell: A free and pleasant way to spend an afternoon. I’ll definitely be returning to the Wintergarden in Spring to see what wonders the glass houses will have on display.

Auckland Domain


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.