Home' Scoop Homes and Art : Insite 23 Summer 2009 Contents 98 INSITE SUMMER
need to glaze it when I could just use paint?"
He now leaves many pieces unfired and
experiments with room temperature glazes.
"Sometimes I might rub in talcum powder or
ochre and seal them with fixative, or I might
pour varnish over a work and roll it in dirt or
soot," he says.
Most of his pieces are modest enough in
size so they could be used as decorations
on the domestic scale, indoors or out. Each
shape contains numerous appendages and
it's tempting to interpret these as parts of
plants or animals -- thorns, petals, scales,
tentacles or claws.
One person may see a single sculpture as a
sunflower whereas somebody else thinks it's
a sea anemone. But any perceived likeness is
in the beholder's mind only, according
"For me it's simply all about multiples,
movement and group dynamics," he says,
taking as an example a little sculpture that
looks like some strange marine creature.
When you analyse it through Graham's eyes,
you see it really is just an assembly of the one
shape -- a plump teardrop -- used over and over.
His interest in multiples and stacking
led him to start working with compressed
paper. He takes hundreds of copies of one
publication such as a catalogue, drills
through the centre of each and threads them
all onto a steel rod.
Graham shapes the sculpture by
arranging the publications in a certain way
or by carving the surface with a tungsten
disc. Both techniques are seen in a 2m tall
work titled Pending which he made for the
Southbound Music Festival in 2007.
e pedestal comprises 300 identical
company annual reports, each placed at
a slight angle to the previous one so the
column forms a spiral. e ball on top is
made from outdated topographical maps.
eir different colours show slightly at the
cut edges, so that the ball is marbled with
Compressed paper is as heavy as jarrah
-- a 6m-long installation Graham made for
the 1998 Canberra National Sculpture Forum
held four tonnes of government documents.
At the other end of the size spectrum is
a little piece titled Goodbye which a local
council commissioned as a gift for a retiring
councillor. Appropriately it's made from
Compressed paper is also as tough as jarrah.
Having tested its capacity to withstand
the weather, Graham's taken paper back
to its roots, so to speak, by installing five
towers resembling tree stumps on the
Understory sculpture walk in a Northcliffe
forest in WA's South-West.
Not content with turning paper into
artificial wood, he wanted a locally
occurring organism to inhabit the towers --
scarlet bracket fungus.
Dr Neale Bougher, a Department of
Environment and Conservation mycologist
and Donna Franklin, a fungi and bacteria
artist and tutor from Edith Cowan University,
played roles in the project, which resulted
in fungal samples being placed within the
stacks to allow nature to take its course. I
Graham Hay, 0432 978 733, grahamhay.com.au.
ORGANIC FORMS: (Clockwise from far left) Pedestal, made of
maps and annual reports; Rib; Emerge II; Goodbye,
made of compressed council minutes.
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