Selected Past Exhibitions
Wendy Black: Figuratively Speaking
15 November - 14 December
This exhibition is a collection of my favourite figurative works, created over the last 15 years. The most recent being ‘Margaret Olley’ and the oldest ‘Jackie’. I have a particular fondness for portraiture, as you can see by the number of portraits in this exhibition.
Wendy has explored a number of artistic avenues, about 25 years ago she discovered sculpture. Her first foray was into ceramic sculpture but after seeing Tom teaching the life class on Burke’s Backyard a year or so later, she began what has turned out to be a fantastic journey into the world of sculpture and a 22 year relationship with the Tom Bass Sculpture Studio. Firstly as a student and since 2005 as a teacher.
Wendy likes to explore different media, including carving and wire. She has been a finalist in the North Sydney Art Prize 2015, awarded the Belle Property Award at Harbour Sculpture 2015 and won a number of people’s choice awards for her wire creatures.
Allison Garoza: Nature's Shadows
12 August - 1 September
Nature captures our attention from a young age. We see anthropomorphised animals in our storybooks, we watch them on television, and with luck we see them in the wild. At some stage we’ve all dreamt of their abilities.
If only I was as fast as_____.
I wish I could jump like_____.
If only I could fly.
As we age, we tend to loose this fascination, and those of us still interested in them learn the darker side of nature, often of our own creation. We learn about endangered animals, species that we’ve wiped out, animals that need our help. We become daunted by their struggles, and weswitch off.
I make sculptures inspired by nature, to remind us of nature. I hope to capture the behaviour and form of the animals that captivated us as children and reignite our desire to see and protect them.
Allison Garoza creates sculptures inspired by nature, to remind us of nature. As a filmmaker she strives to capture the movement of the animals she films, and follows this same method in her sculpture. She bends wire to capture the strength, grace, and beauty of animals, building their form before details, to express the inward personality of each animal. She hopes her sculptures remind us of the natural world, and inspire us to protect it.
Adventure's in Stone: a group exhibition
5 July - 2 August
A group exhibition featuring limestone sculptures by students and teachers of TBSSS including: Claire Bradford, Rhonda Cooper, Christine Crimmins, Rhonda Cooper, Noriko O'Leary and Tim Roberts.
Meri Peach: Auxlang
24 May - 25 June
An exhibition of fibre sculpture and basketry by Meri Peach, incorporating telephone wire, plastic, and other products of the digital media age.
Despite communication barriers among cultures, some things reach back from the present day into the distant past that unites all humans. Hands, gestures, weaving, counting. Sculpture is one kind of auxiliary language (auxlang) allowing communication between people with different first languages.
Since I was a small child, I have always been equally interested in art and nature, and couldn't decide whether to be an artist or biologist when I grew up. After leaving school I completed a Bachelor of Visual Arts, and worked for several years as an artist, illustrator and photographer. I felt, however, that the more analytical side of my personality was not being satisfied. In 1993 I returned to university to do a Bachelor of Science and PhD in biology, and then worked as a marine biologist in academia, government and the private sector.
I first experimented with basket making and fibre sculpture in 2002, and in 2004 I left full-time academia to resume my artistic practice. I continued to work as a casual environmental educator and biology consultant for several more years, but since 2011 I have been a full-time artist and teacher of sculpture and basketry workshops. Like many contemporary basket makers, I learned from a variety of teachers as well as being self-taught. My first teacher Virginia Kaiser had a big influence on my practice. It is due to her that I often call my pieces ‘baskets’ even when they are clearly sculptural and not intended for practical usage. There is still a ‘containerness’ and ‘basketness’ about them; they may have a distinct inside and outside, and many woven elements, and whatever form they take, they contain my thoughts and artistic intentions, as well as whatever the viewer wants to imbue them with.
Basket making is a joyful and compulsive process that connects me to the natural world and to my ancestors. I work with plant materials, which I mostly grow myself, and also with reclaimed synthetic materials such as plastics and telephone wire. I make both functional and sculptural work, and I tend to place equal value on these avenues. Although basketry methods are time-consuming and disciplined, the process confers a mental freedom I have not found in other art forms. My mind often roams wildly during the making, and the ideas eventually infiltrate my work. My background in biology is a continuing influence. I am inspired by many structures produced by other animals, including nests, cocoons, shells, spiderwebs and the exoskeletons of invertebrates. My work often references human relationships with and impacts on the environment. Recently, though, encouraged by my collaborations with other artists, I am delving more into personal realms, exploring my own memories and emotional life.
Carved: A group exhibition
18 April - 17 May
A group exhibition of marble and alabaster sculptures by sixteen students and sculptors: Nik Ballingal, Carla Browne, Michael Christie, Arthur Cowley, Terence Cole, Byron Comninos, Carol Crawford, Christine Crimmins, Sam Eller, Margaret Fitzgerald, Jonathan Foley, Kim Hart, Victoria Kitanov, Anerys McMahon, Anthony Mitchell and Arielle Morris.
Tony Wong Hee: Outside looking in
11 March - 7 April
Based in Sydney, Tony is a visual artist who works in a range of art forms – sculpture, art objects, painting and works on paper. His work is primarily concerned with the human condition expressed through a subtle layering of meaning and emotion.
Outside looking in
For many years I have held an interest in the complexity of the Middle East - its culture, people, geopolitics - and in recent times, I have focused my creative attention on the harsh reality facing the Palestinian people.
This current exhibition of sculptural objects develops the theme of Home Land, my 2016 show that explored the dichotomy facing Palestinian families in the West Bank: that of being both locked in to an oppressive life under occupation, and locked out of home, land and a normal life.
For me, each object holds a story that cannot be seen, but imagined.
Elisabeth Thilo: Rhythm and Form
12 December - 14 February
As a small child, in the Congo, Elisabeth covered her concrete bedroom floor with chalk drawings, the genesis of her creative journey. Extensive travel throughout Africa, the Middle East and Europe has since informed her art. She developed a fascination for flow and movement that she captures in all her work. After a successful career in scientific research and education, Elisabeth turned to her passion for sculpture. She has been associated with the Tom Bass School since 2005 and was invited to take master-classes with Tom in 2009, where she was encouraged to experiment and develop pieces kinaesthetically as well as visually. Since then, she has attended numerous workshops and has received a number of Director’s Awards.
Experimenting with variety of media, Elisabeth explores the relationship of light on form, and its effect on the creative outcome. She has developed her practice in studios both in the United States (alabaster) and in Italy, working alabaster from Voltera as well as Carrara marble and travertine.
Rhythm and Form
The ebb and flow of life, the continuous expansion of the universe, microscopic atoms, all vibrating at their own rhythm. Nothing is static. Yet when we see objects and forms, they appear still, their inner rhythm concealed. When reproducing these forms and endeavouring to capture their essence, is their true nature really expressed? What is it about an object that makes it recognisable, even from a fleeting glance? Its shape, its texture, its attitude, its position, its presence? Why do some things appear soft and others hard? Is it the way the form moves and expresses itself? Are our expectations influenced by experience or by that object’s inherent structure? Each one of the works explores these questions of fluctuating form.
Tom Bass: an enduring legacy
An exhibition of photographs by Peter Miller
21 October - 30 November
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.
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
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.
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.
Simon Gandevia: Evolving Forms
5 Nov - 4 Dec 2015
Not much can be understood without an inkling of insight into evolution and change. Evolution is a word that can be understood on many levels – from Darwinian evolution to the changes occurring over time in all materials, things and even ideas. All the pieces presented in this exhibition use ‘natural’ materials, for example sandstone, which has been carved and shaped by nature and then by hand. Some use wood which has been chiselled, burnt or eroded by the elements. In some pieces, such as Hand evolving, there is an additional link to the concept of ‘evolving’: both the material and shape have a link to the term.
About Simon Gandevia:
Simon has been a doctor and medical researcher for about thirty years. He took sculpture classes at the Waverley Woollahra Art Centre some years ago and, since 2011, has been attending Tom Bass Sculpture Studio School. At TBSSS, he has mostly carved in sandstone. Simon also participated in TBSSS workshops on limestone carving with Paul Hopmeier and on sculpting with found objects with Anita Larkin. As another interest, he has helped establish three Japanese-Australian gardens, including one at Neuroscience Research Australia. Simon and his wife Julie maintain a number of bonsai trees. Visit Simon's website: gandeviasculpture.com
Sallie Portnoy: Go Figure
15 Oct - 4 Nov 2015
An exhibition of cast glass and metals by contemporary artist Sallie Portnoy. In November 2015, Sallie ran a special Glass Casting Workshop at Tom Bass Sculpture Studio School.
About Sallie Portnoy:
Internationally recognized award winning multimedia artist Sallie Portnoy (BFA, MSA) now works mainly in cast glass crystal creating abstract figurative sculpture. Prolific and diverse, she is also known to work in clay, bronze, cement, polyurethane, glass mosaic, and stainless steel.
Portnoy has had numerous solo exhibitions and been the recipient of several major awards and public art commissions. She is represented internationally in private and permanent collections and has taught glass workshops in Australia, Canada, Turkey, Corning Museum of glass and Urban Glass NYC. She holds regular workshops at her Northern Beaches studio in Sydney and this November will hold a special workshop for Tom Bass Sculpture Studio School. Visit Sallie's website: www.sallieportnoyglass.com.au
Margo Hoekstra: Stories
5 Aug - 2 Sep 2015
The exhibition showcased Margo's work over the last 30 years and focused on the various 'stories' or phases of Margo's life as a sculptor.
Jules Jones: The Energy In-Between
7 May - 28 May 2015
Using the horse as a visual metaphor, this body of work illustrates the unified field of energy that runs through all beings. Jules has developed her own medium incorporating wire, sisal (cactus fibre), copper, stone and semi-precious crystals. Capturing the explosive energy and impulsion of a horse’s life force, the work celebrates our connection to the earth and the stars.
About Jules Jones:
Jules Jones has worked and studied in London and Sydney. She came to Tom Bass Studio in 2009 and in 2012 undertook a year of sculpture study and practice in the TBSSS Emerging Sculptor Program. Jules has participated in numerous group shows in Sydney; this is her first solo exhibition.
A group exhibition: Carvings
1 Apr - 28 Apr 2015
An exhibition that featured works by students and teachers of Tom Bass Sculpture Studio School. Sculptures on display were carved from soapstone, limestone, marble and alabaster.
A group exhibition: Pieces of Eight
2015 Art Month Exhibition
6 Mar - 27 Mar 2015
Diverse and dynamic, the 2015 edition of Pieces of Eight curated by Wendy Black, will once again present eight contemporary sculptors: Carol Crawford, Lea Ferris, Odette Ireland, Anita Larkin, Ingrid Morley, Kim-Anh Nguyen, Meredith Peach and Susann Taylor. Pieces of Eight will showcase a varied approach to the sculptural form, exhibition pieces will include sculptures exquisitely carved from marble and alabaster to delicate hand built ceramic pieces, as well as sculptures made from collected objects. Clara Street Gallery is excited to be presenting eight diverse women artists as part of Art Month 2015.