S H Ervin Gallery Observatory Hill – from 28 January 2014
Sculpture City is an exhibition of sculpture that has recently opened at The S H Ervin Gallery on Observatory Hill curated by Jane Watters and Christopher Hodges.
The title of the exhibition at The S H Ervin Gallery does not relate to my preoccupation with The Sydney School of Sculpture. Sculpture City as a title doesn't relate to the idea of Sydney, at all.
Sculpture City, as a title for the show suggests it is where you go to find a display of sculpture like if you went to Tent City you would expect a display of tents. At City Ford you can get any colour of car you want provided it's black. At Sculpture City the same applies except the sculptures will reliably rust.
Sculpture City presents to an idle observer a range of sculptures made under the same historical umbrella. The works, with very few exceptions are made from steel. Many viewers will find small differences between the works. An exhibition that presents a focused area of endeavour will lead some viewers to wish for more diversity.
For the sculptors represented here, there is more diversity than a narrow spectrum. With a focus finally, the exhibition presents a clarity and legibility for the disparity between the works to be revealed.
From whatever inclinations or perspective the viewer may have when they view the exhibition, it represents a major breakthrough. This group of artists has enjoyed, depending on their ages, a sustained dialogue and exchange for forty years or more.
This show is the beginning of that story, told. The strength of the group is such that there are as many sculptors who should be in the show but aren't.
The critics and commentators have been without exception asleep on the job. Otherwise the sculptors would be better known. It would be known that there was a lively field of sculpture happening here that was unparalleled anywhere, in any field.
That judgement might have been made by an impartial party. From waiting, I am moved now to make it from my impatience.
The sculptors and their works have been sustained by a tradition of sculpture practice that has been encouraged at The National Art School at East Sydney since the mid twentieth century.
This show highlights the achievements of The Sydney School of Sculpture as no other show has done.