Alan Somerville, Sculptor: “The Bella Figura”
When you cross the Anzac Bridge in Sydney from the Southern end you are aware of two, above life size, bronze figures of soldiers. One, an Australian, the other, a New Zealander. They stand valiant, in all weathers, a moving tribute to manhood and heroism. Alan Somerville who sculpted these works recently held an exhibition of his latest work at the Walter Burley Griffin designed Willoughby Incinerator Art Space, itself a work of sculpture.
This exhibition by a master of anatomy and fluidity in form was all action. Nothing here is at rest. The charging bull, the rapturous dancers, Horses are the very essence of horse. Lovers melt in each other’s arms. The works in the round are framed by a lively collection of animated drawings.
Here is a master sculptor who is part of that golden thread of figurative sculpture that includes Rodin, Degas and our own George Lambert. I have long admired the work of an inherently modest man who works incredibly hard to create a seemingly effortless result. It was my privilege to open this exhibition and share the occasion with his many admirers on Saturday the 3rd of August 2013.
Artist David Fairbairn won this prestigious award for 2012 with a masterly layered portrait of deep thought growing out of the act of simultaneously viewing and understanding. Such is the confidence and vitality of his line that the viewer comes away energised.
Next door to the winning work is an elegant study in levitation by Ben Smith that similarly engages the viewer in thought. The seeming effortless simplicity of this fine work is as diverting as any possible UFO undercurrent.
Michael Muir has found his own style; a richness that rewards us with magic, sunlight and colour, which belies the serious thought and draughtsmanship beneath.
There were many other standout works in this exciting exhibition which shared the Mosman Gallery space with the new Neil Balnaves Gift Bequest Collection.
The inspired collector Neil Balnaves has demonstrated great wisdom in gifting a comprehensive collection. Here, for all , is a lesson on how to collect. Do it with your heart! A gentle oasis of romantic works of an earlier time engages young and old. It is to be hoped that other Mosman benefactors will now come forward to submit works of this genre and period to the Director of the Gallery. If they are accepted they could be added to this splendid collection of Sydney Harbour paintings.
Perhaps if the Mosman Gallery cleverly provides a blank space near the collection with a sign in a suitable gilt plaster frame saying “Your gift painting here!” the cue will be provided for this happy eventuality.
The Mosman Art Prize, which was judged by Anne Flanagan, Deputy Director of the AGNSW, is on view from 21st July till 26th August. The must visit Balnaves Collection is an ongoing exhibition.
Judy Boyd Lane is currently exhibiting a suite of fine sculptures and drawings at the Mosman Art Gallery.
They are inspired by a recent trip to Europe, where she was drawn to the sculptures in many museums in London and Paris. On show are a number of delicate drawings forming a flowing suite that grew from these experiences.
As is her custom Judy, who is a visual diarist, came back with many filled sketchbooks.
I shared a number of happy and fruitful years with Judy as a fellow student of Henry Cornwallis Gibbons and J Richard Ashton at the Julian Ashton Art School.
The works on show are the latest examples of an artist who has been a master in many mediums, including portraiture figure drawing and painting. She is also a highly respected teacher. We rejoice in this move into exciting new territory.
The exhibition runs from 30th June till 26th August 2012