With the Strand Ephemera kicking off today, there’s no better time to head down to the esplanade and soak in all the beauty that our region has to offer – while appreciating some incredible sculptures by both visiting and local artists.
While the official Strand Ephemera winner will not be announced until this evening, we’ve hit the sand and found six sculptures that you will want to see for yourself. This list only includes pieces that have been created by the 2017 competitive artists, so does not include pieces such as Dancenorth’s Tectonic, Robbie Rowlands’ Light Falls and Caitlind r.c. Brown and Wayne Garrett’s Cloud – those are pieces we’ll save for you to see in person!
Here are our top seven:
7. This Heart Within Me Burns – Tanya Coventry with Bowen State High School
Part of the appeal of this artwork is the confronting nature of it: all of the plastic and rubbish used to create the piece was found washed up on the beach, along with the driftwood used for the birds. We love the detail of the birds themselves, as well as the suspension of the plastic forming the centre of the artwork: it shows, in a beautiful and heartbreaking way, the concentration of plastic that can form inside marine birds, which never breaks down and can lead to them starving.
6. Making Waves – Alison McDonald
We were lucky enough to catch up with Alison during the creation of this piece, and learnt a lot about the work that went into it – so to see the enormity of the finished product is amazing! Roughly 12,000 SIM card packets are connected together, in a pattern that represents the layout of US cell phone towers – a comment on the noticeable presence of phones along the Strand, while also mimicking the waves behind the sculpture. Photos do not do Alison’s piece justice – it’s one that you have to see up-close!
5. The Crab – Joy Heylen
We visited Joy during the install of this piece, and have already seen the corten steel’s colours change a lot over just the past few days. The specific type of steel used to create The Crab‘s outer shell is one that, as it rusts, builds up layers – so being situated in a marine environment means the sculpture will change colour almost daily!
4. Strangers In The Wind – Tom Emmett
Everything from the shadows the sculpture creates to its interaction and harmony with the environment around it really won us over: Tom is a surfer from Brisbane, and has created these pieces using the same material as surfboards to celebrate beach culture, and pay homage to the region he is exhibiting in.
3. Sand Ephemera – Jane Hawkins, Rhonda Payne & Sally Munns
While there are no set criteria for Ephemera sculptures, we love how many this year celebrate the beach they are featured on. This piece is the ultimate definition of something ephemeral too, enlarging the balls found on the beach at low tide as crabs busily clean out their homes.
2. Your Altered Gaze Returned – Vanessa Stanley
Vanessa Stanley is based on the Gold Coast, so would know exactly how to hero the beaches that surround her artwork – and this piece does that incredibly well. The collection of curved mirrors draw in and abstract the beauty of the world around them, and introduce an aspect of childhood frivolity to those that stand in front of it.
1. Lantis – Robert Crispe
When we first spoke to Robert about his artwork, we knew this piece would be one to look out for – but seeing it in place, playing with its surroundings and sending out its own playful reflections, we fell even more in love. Lantis breathes in two very different ways: by day, the mirrors reflect the nature around them; then by night, projections produce kaleidoscopic masterpieces bounced off the reflective structure. Another aspect we fell in love with was Lantis‘ remoteness: it is nestled into the corner of the beach, out of plain sight, so is even more of a surprise when you uncover it.
This list was compiled by a 20-something year old who is in no way a professional art critic. These are subjective opinions that he has made, and he apologises profusely to those that could not fit into the perfectly-alliterated number of this article’s title.