2016 Exhibitions

Tom Bass: an enduring legacy
An exhibition of photographs by Peter Miller
21 October - 30 November 2016

Peter Miller is a Sydney-based architectural photographer. He is passionate about creating images that capture the beauty found in the urban and industrial landscape.

Hidden in plain sight Tom Bass’ works are like subliminal advertisements from an earlier period promoting communal and spiritual ideals.

At first I was drawn to the unmistakable 1950’s / ‘60’s look of Amicus Certus – a bas relief on the AMP building at Circular Quay. The full motto of the Australian Mutual Provident Society is “amicus certus in re incerta” which means “a sure friend in an uncertain event”. The central figure represents the Goddess of Plenty who watches over the family figures represented by a mother, father and child. A sculpture from the totem-maker full of meaning and yet usually uncomprehended by the busy office workers.

As I started to open my eyes and investigate further I realised I passed by at least four of Tom’s work each day. Two of these (Amicus Certus and the P&O fountain) were on busy thoroughfares while the other two (ICI and AGC sculptures) were moved to out of the way locations after out-living the original buildings they were installed on. It is perhaps appropriate that Tom’s work, like the ideas they embody, have a longer life than the bricks and mortar to which they were originally affixed.

Once I started photographing Tom’s sculptures a large yet achievable quest was started, one which can bring 21st century digital technology and techniques to help capture and interpret these works from a different time.

Peter Miller

Ian Kennedy: Plaster and Stone
21 July - 23 August 2016 

About Ian Kennedy
Ian worked as a survey draftsperson for Sydney Water, private surveyors, a mining company, transitioning to a cartographer at the Royal Australian Navy Hydrographic Office. He then had a small garden maintenance business from 2003-2014. His interest in sculpture stemmed from attending a course in sandstone carving at the Sydney Community College in 1993.

Ian has attended Tom Bass Sculpture Studio School since 2003 and in that time several of his works have been awarded Director’s Choice Awards during the Annual Studio Exhibitions. Ian's work was also featured in the 2013 Tom Bass & His Studio – A Forty Year Legacy Exhibition held at Bowen Library, Randwick. His inspiration is drawn from the books held in the exceptional TBSSS library, namely classical sculpture and the works of the Inuit people, together with his appreciation of the natural world.

Ian has remained at TBSSS for tuition as he believes there is no other institution in Sydney that can offer the same quality and diversity in guidance in the teaching of sculpture. Plaster and Stone is Ian's first solo exhibition. 

Helen Alajajian: So long lives this...
9 Jun - 13 July 2016 

Artist Statement
The fragility of life, its vulnerability, propensity to change, and ultimate decay is a theme that pervades my work, not only concerning the human body, but in relation to my perception and representation of the world around us. Inevitable mutability, hastened by environmental degradation prompts me to, and even demands, that I record moments in time, finding beauty and individuality in a fleeting moment.

A paradox is therefore created in my work, the sculptures especially, whose heaviness bespeaks permanence, yet it is always the transitory that I seek, in everything: the human form, animals, plague images and mortality.

The illness and death of my late husband, who was transformed from great solidity to a mere husk, is recorded in sculpture, while the accompanying lithograph and pinhole photograph reflect the terrifying onset of death.

I am similarly moved by life’s randomness and surprises, particularly when the tangible of the here and now is confronted by the illusory – visitations from the spirit world. My pinhole photography, undertaken during a period of deep personal sorrow in Tasmania, resonates, through long exposure, of the intersection of these two worlds.

My paintings and sculptures of the naked female form seek to capture the transience of youth and beauty, before the inevitable ravages of time take their toll. The animal works, too, speak of a vanishing world where, through human intervention, species disappear daily. Sic transit gloria mundi.

As a constant observer, simultaneously delighting in every moment and moved by its transience, I seek only in my work to preserve a moment in time.

Helen Alajajian

About Helen Alajajian
Helen had a nursing background before studying English Literature and Fine Arts. She first started sculpture classes in 1983 at the Sydney University’s Tin Shed. The following year Helen started studying at TBSSS in the old Broadway building. Some years later Helen continued studying sculpture at the University of Tasmania in Hobart, during which time she remained in touch with Tom. Helen is now a regular at TBSSS and has been undertaking workshops since 2007.

In 2009, Tom invited her to undertake the Master Class; also that same year Helen and other sculptors took part in a camping desert trek in Alice Springs. Helen has received three Directors Choice awards and in 2012 was given a place on the TBSSS Emerging Sculptors Program.

As well as undertaking term workshops, Helen has taken several special workshops with guest artists. Helen has also studied formal drawing and painting at Julian Ashton’s Art School and sculpture with Alan Somerville at the Royal Art Society.

Quote from Tom Bass during the Master Class: “Creativity lies in the unconscious mind… don’t say ‘I’m going to make’… rather, let it come to you.”

Inspired by the Figure
28 Apr - 24 May 2016 

A group exhibition featuring students and teachers from Tom Bass Studio, inspired by the figure. 

Exhibition includes: Helen Alajajian, Peter Bartlett, Byron Comninos, Daniel Dominguez, Jonathan Foley, Simon Gandevia, Leone Harris, Margo Hoekstra, Bernice Lowe, Arielle Morris, Mehrnoosh Ni Tavakoli, Meredith Peach, Eilat Rabin Rein, Tim Roberts, Doris Stewart, Elisabeth Thilo, Michael Vaynman, Martin Williams, Tony Wong Hee.


An Exhibition by Anita Larkin and Linda Bowden
30 Mar - 26 Apr 2016

This exhibition featured work by contemporary Sydney based artists Anita Larkin and Linda Bowden. Anita and Linda ran workshops at Tom Bass Sculpture Studio School in April 2016.

About Anita Larkin:
Anita Larkin graduated with a Bachelor of Visual Arts from Sydney College of The Arts in 1993, and has continued since then to exhibit around Australia and internationally. She is represented by Defiance Gallery in Sydney. The unique sculpture Larkin creates has featured in exhibitions such as Sculpture by the Sea, The Wynne Prize, AGNSW, The Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize, The Blake Prize, and The Beijing International Art Biennale. Her work is represented in private as well as public collections such as The Australian War Memorial Art Collection. Transforming the collected object into sculptures evoking a human narrative, Larkin reveals a strange beauty within the forgotten and discarded. She has taught art workshops for 20 years. Visit Anita's website: www.anitalarkin.com

About Linda Bowden:
Linda Bowden has been teaching sculpture to both children and adults since graduating from NAS in 1999.  She is known for both her intimate and large scale works, two of the latter being on permanent public display in Sydney (the Transfield collection Pier 8/9 Walsh Bay and Hunter’s Park in Bondi).  She is the first woman to join the Decade Club of Sculpture by the Sea having exhibited for twelve times in the annual exhibition at Bondi.  She has received the Art Gallery Society of NSW award at Sculpture by the Sea in 2010 and 2011.  In 2013 her work, The Others, was a finalist in the Wynne Prize at the AGNSW.  She works in a variety of materials and is keen to share her knowledge with others.  Her classes are known for their relaxed atmosphere and sense of fun which Linda brings to her work. 

Tom Bass:  A Collection of Figurative Works
2016 Art Month Exhibition
1 Feb - 28 Mar 2016

An exhibition in commemoration of what would have been Tom Bass AM’s centenary year. Devoting his working life to sculpture in the public realm, Bass was one of Australia’s truly accomplished sculptors of public art. His work is widely displayed throughout Australia’s capital cities and regional areas. This exhibition is a chance to see figurative works that are rarely exhibited. Visit www.tombass.org.au to learn more about Tom Bass.