Towards a Better Appreciation
The Crossing found its launch at Sculpture by The Sea's twentieth anniversary exhibition in 2016. After much deliberation the sculpture was installed at the northern end of Tamarama, where it was subjected to unheard of seas.
First encounter with the ocean
The catalogue statement was not published but was to have said, "It's 2096 and the 100th year celebration of Sculpture by The Sea. If you stand on the middle of The Crossing, you can breathe.” The catalogue entry might have said so many things to enable a better appreciation of the work. With hindsight now those statements are coming to me thick and fast .
"The Crossing provides the means by which one may cross over between understanding a western view of what it is to be alive, and an indigenous one. It seems that no device was available, certainly not one that could be achieved by thought, or understanding, or sympathy or by contemplation, or meditation. A physical crossing seemed the best option. One simply had to mount at either end, depending on the position from which you came, and walk across it. Crossing became more of a pleasure than an ordeal. The Crossing provides the means by which two cultures can merge. An alternative title to The Crossing may have been A Reconciliation.
The sculpture was moved to higher ground on the beach where the water 'never comes'. It was taken again though, by an angrier sea than before. The sculpture was hoisted and knocked off its footings once again. The media was awakened by the sea's second coming. I was interviewed for ABC News. "How does it feel to have your work exposed to such forces?" "Well, I said", or might have, had I had the wit, "Whether it is lashings by the sea or by the tongue, we need to be prepared. This weather is quite mild among other forces."
As it happens, the second siting was much better for the work. It enjoyed more profile on the belly of the beach, away from its groin. The sculpture was better elevated and a better view of
the ocean could be had from it. Its feet remained buried for several days. The sculpture was half submerged in a drift of sand. We dug it finally and it perched up properly, with its slow rise revealed.
I respect the work of other sculptors, but sculptures side by side are members of a herd and suffer identity loss. It is the trouble with all such shows, that the power of a work is subjugated to the mob cause. While the works on Tamarama had better accommodation than those at Marks Park, there was still a jostling, hands reaching up for greater attention.
The attentive gaze of visitors to the show
The sculpture came about through the normal channels I employ. Mick the builder was doing a renovation down on the corner from my place. He gave me a load of timber and steel beams. I used my empty studio as a mold and poured the material into it. The work is more or less the size and shape of my workshop. I used it as a womb and hatched a baby house there. You could say I mated with my house and conceived this sculpture. The sculpture takes a lot after my house.
Much can be surmised about a work. All added up it comes out an accountant's nightmare. Even if sometimes all the ideas do add up, that doesn't guarantee a 'beauty" in the work. Sometimes when an argument can be successfully mounted, the work has a higher chance of failure.
I borrowed this photograph from Instagram. It hints at another aspect of the work. I made the work for my grandchild, who needed the handrail to be the right height.