Biting art

PLANTS that have evolved teeth to protect their habitat from humans is one of the quirky artworks selected for Sculpture @ Bathers 5.

For the exhibition, Fremantle artist Holly O’Meehan will create 73 porcelain domes inspired by the Proteaceae species, which is endemic to South West WA.

She’s still at the design stage but is toying with the idea of adding spikes, quills and teeth to her plant creations, which have evolved “due to the endless cycle of human impact on the environment.”

The 29-year-old graduated from Curtin University with a double BA in Fine Art and Art and Design.

“My mother and I also collaborate under the ‘Golden Wattle Hookers’ pseudonym, creating large crochet installations,” O’Meehan says.

“Our immersive installation Neon Lagoon was part of the Fremantle Arts Centres kids exhibition Animaze.”

Held on Bathers Beach and at Kidogo Arthouse in Fremantle’s West End, the popular biennial  Sculpture @ Bathers is back in February next year.

A total of 120 WA artists submitted entires with 67 selected to produce 65 diverse sculptures, include kinetic, large scale and interactive pieces.

The sculptures will be made from a huge variety of materials like 19th century telegraph poles, broomsticks, egg shells, recycled materials and Kimberley granite.

The exhibition will showcase emerging, established and regional artists, including 12 based in Fremantle.

Last year’s exhibition had about 90 sculptures, but this time organisers have scaled back to focus on new contemporary works previously unseen in Greater Perth.

“Sculpture at Bathers is of vital importance to the WA visual arts sector,” lead curator Sandra Murray says. 

“It supports WA artists with a unique opportunity to exhibit their work on a significant stage. 

“Aside from the opportunity to show and sell their work to the general public, the exhibition presents an excellent space for artists to network and establish new contacts at one of the state’s largest gatherings of sculptors.” 

Since launching in 2013, funding for Sculpture @ Bathers has been tenuous with organisers mostly relying on financial support from Fremantle Council, local traders, Fremantle Port and the Department of Culture and the Arts. This time organisers have a bigger federal grant and will be able to pay artists, but S@B founder Tony Jones says it is unlikely the grant will be ongoing.

“The previous four biennial exhibitions operated on more limited funds and if they are to continue other funding avenues will most likely be needed,” he says.

“The RISE [federal] funds allow a bit more flexibility in employment of administrators and the payment of artist fees for the first time.

“The show is also very dependent on and appreciative of a strong team of volunteers.”

Free educational activities, workshops and artist tours will accompany S@B5. 

Details will be announced at sculptureatbathers.com.au

S@B5 is at Bathers Beach and Kidogo Arthouse from February 19 – March 7.

By STEPHEN POLLOCK

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