Wednesday, 23 September 2015


The 2015 catalogue of the Swell Sculpture Festival held at Currumbin Beach, Queensland, Australia has been published here to illustrate the review and commentary of this event: see This allows all sculptures to be illustrated and all texts associated with each work to be included in order to cover the broad scope of this outdoor exhibition as compactly and completely as possible.
The SWELL LIST 2015 below gives a brief commentary on each work.

The area for the festival stretches from the mouth of Currumbin Creek to Elephant Rock.


Note: The # tag represents those artists who exhibited in 2013: see -
The * tag represents artists who exhibited 2014: see - 
There are 19 out of the 55, nearly one third, (c.f. 21 out of 66 last year), who have submitted again this year. As was said last year: 'It is this core of repeated style, even materials, that gives the 2015 festival a feeling of the familiar that somewhat stifles one’s enthusiasm for creativity, its discovery; its experience - surprise and intrigue. One sees only variations of more of the same.' No more or different words needs to be said in 2015.

Comments have been jotted down on each work by way of a general overview, and to assist in the reassessment of the works with time. One's opinions do change, but they need substance to ponder, assess and to challenge ideas and thoughts, to give something tangible to stimulate debate. First thoughts can be wrong: well, different to later ones; challenged by them, perhaps.

*#01 Leonie Rhodes #thewall 2015
Fine, detailed work, but one finds it hard to get enthused by graffiti or spray cans.
02 Carla Gottgens Oceania Botanica
An intriguing idea, attractive, ephemeral, but the technique lets it down. It looked slightly shabby, uneasy, ready to peel off even on the first day. The work is potentially much better than this.
03 Ingrid Morley Lost and Found
The sculpture as an item needs the text for one to understand the intent, suggesting that the forms have little native, integral meaning that can be experienced by the puzzled onlooker without the book. Yet it was selected as the winner. Why? It seems that judges like such interpretative pieces that fit their particular definition of art that has to be abstract, cleverly intellectual, never figurative in any way if it is to hold 'true' meaning.
04 Adrienne Kenafake Sea Tunnel
A beautifully delicate piece of wire lace that sits easily in its context, improving both itself and the landscape. It is elegantly whimsical. Why not call it a fish trap?
*#05 Daniel Clemmett Death Cult
One struggles with this piece that seems to have more to do with gun installations on headlands than Ned. The recycling is interesting, but leaves one struggling with the intent other than just doing it. The technique, the method, takes over when viewed in detail and reminds one of earlier pieces.
06 Marissa Lindquist Budgie Smuggler
Flighty, with a text that works too hard to establish meaning in form and content for this odd Australian phrase that detracts from, distracts the experience.
*#07 Catherine Lane Green Edge (*2014 with Linelle Stepo)
It is difficult to get past the reading of bird boxes on sticks. One needs the text to force more out of this work.
*#08 Greg Quinton You should always know where your towel is
A clothes hoist with towels pretending to be art: but it did look good in the wind. Perhaps it helps us understand that our ordinary environment can be art without trying to be clever.
*09 John Wilson Street Lamp
Mmmm: old and new beauty. It is expensive - $140,000.
*10 Jacqueline Damon Still Standing
This tree is art. Why not all trees?
11 Chris Benni Control Rooms
'Political and spiritual consequences of disasters.' The intent seems to carry greater depth than the work.
12 Jimmy Rix Roo Shooter
It is difficult to carry serious meaning and any depth of feeling with puns, be these verbal or in form.
13 Louis Pratt King Coal
The pun takes over form the intended meaning, although there is something grim about the form; and something uneasily jokey too.
14 Clayton Thompson Space Time Continuum
Trying to create an experience of a concept, in this case the title, is difficult, as the form frequently becomes a diagram that it too literal, void of the inherent mystery and meaning in the subject.
*15 Filthy Luker & Pedro Estrellas The Shadow Over Innsmouth
A beautiful giant squid weather vane, but why the bomb? Does 'art' always have to try a little harder?
16 Oliver Stretton-Pow Infrastructure: Ship of Fools
A 'dialogue,' 'hybrid,' 'narrative,' 'interpretive entry': it is difficult to understand this work even after reading the text that uses a lot of the arty jargon. Folk spoke of this piece as “the ship wreck over there.”
17 Carmel Marsden Art Makes Life
Again, a text full of fashionable jargon. It is hard to read these intentions into this piece, a metal framework with circles and arrows that cast pretty shadows.
18 Gaye Jurisich Shroud
'Marks my human scale in the reality of landscape': what does this mean? Why do artists use contorted texts? Is it an attempt to create more 'meaning' in a few strings strung over a rail, an installation that could be seen as a large musical instrument?
19 Andrew Lang Graffiti Wheels
Graffiti has its own problems with excesses that are difficult to appreciate.
20 Steve Lockie The Wave
An alluring piece that delicately responds to light winds with a surprising elegance. It touches nature lightly, expressively.
21 Dave Hickson The Home
The ideas are worthwhile, but the medium is far removed from any expressive resolution of the emotive concept.
*22 Jack Quilter Ghost Fish
'An open porthole': the subject appears to be seeking out some sense to be given to these abstract 'artistic' forms.
23 Kris Martin Razorbeak, the Wedge-tail Eagle
An attractive and expressive resolution that uses natural pieces to make an iconic totem image similar to that of the Indians on the west coast of Canada – those of their totem poles.
24 Deborah Redwood Chapel by the Sea
Here it seems that old pieces of decorative balustrades have been used to make totemic forms that have been arrayed to create a space dominated by a cross. This does not make a chapel anywhere, even if the artist declares: 'I take this discarded “wreckage”, to create land based steeples that connect with the sea creating new narratives.' What does this mean?
25 Tropical Loveland WET/DRY
'A typical experience at the beach in a conceptually considered manner': but it still is just a set of towels. There seems to be a conceit here: $10,000 for 'beach towels, star pickets, (and) plastic capping.'
26 Tessa Bergan Tide Lines
A line of white plastic bottles. The title is mythic; the work seems to try too hard to transcend the ordinary.
27 Isaac Patmore Blowing in the Wind
A delicate piece that successfully unites wind and sound visually, in circular windows that open to the sky filled with bells and leaves. It is a work that responds nicely to its context and makes one see more.
*#28 Jules Hunt Beautiful Nature
A lovely construction that struggles with its title that seems too insensitive. The weight and self-consciousness of the leaf forms carries a load not seen in nature.
*#29 Ivan Lovatt Magnificent
A grand lion that uses a familiar technique that judges seem to think is too literal in its expression; not tricky enough? It was good to see the Peers judge this work differently.
*30 Thomas Reiffscheid Feathery
A surprisingly fine piece of polished stone that does make one look twice: is it possible. It obviously is. Whether it is a successful 'symbol of our dreams' is another matter. Its technique seems to overpower the experience.
31 Suzi Lucas I am Mum
MUM is obvious as structured letters, but more than this? The story suggests more but it is not self-evident in the work. It is difficult to incorporate personal feelings in a work of art.
32 Yellow Goat Design Timmy
A wonderful play piece that has a sign to tell children not to climb on it! Sculptures need to be categorised better than this. Many can be touched and climbed on. Why not? Do we have to insist on a 'no hands' art as in galleries?
33 Wayne Markwort MissileBoy
The work has a stark horror about it that might be due to poor craftsmanship rather than any self-conscious effort. “I'm thinking about perceptions of conflict and war” but this is not self-evident in the work.
*#34 Monte Lupo Attenborough's Minions
Wonderful ceramics but it is a shame that the legs are so diagrammaticality crude: just welded steel flats. It might have been better if they had been bronze castings with a more expressive shaping in the making.
35 Phillip Piperides Urban Figures
I am still looking for this one. Is there always one that disappears?
*#36 Christopher Trotter Little Red Flag
This is a very sensitive work that seems too sweetly delicate to be a protest. Its elegance is surprising.
37 John Cox See Life
A great 'beachy' ball blow-up form ready to fly. The text tries to suggest more. Why?
38 Suzi Lucas & Daniel Gill Rock Stars (see 31)
The play on words takes over from the experience of some nice work. The personal story has little to do with the sculpture, but it is sweet.
*39 Mimi Dennett-Fountain Sandbag Mansion (*2014 as Mimi Dennett)
The concept is there just too literally. The challenge with art is to embody the emotion is the raw state, alive and alert, rather than being merely interpretative in an explanatory manner.
40 Melissa Hirsch Jellyfish Tree
This is a beautiful piece that successfully displays its visual intent. The metaphoric concept remains aloof, but the detail is superb.
41 Rebecca Cunningham Conversation Piece
A crude, rough intertwining of poorly painted PVC pipes that is an interesting idea. It needs refinement. It seems to be trying too hard to be 'art.' That the piece might promote verbal communication is in doubt. Where, with whom, what? It appears to promote confusion and uncertainty.
42 Adrienne Hmelnitsky Place and Time in Spirit
The work is a literal story telling of an intent that struggles to come to life, even with mirrors and voids.
43 Marie-France Rose Cirque du Ciel (Circus of the Sky)
A delightful work that entrances. It does exactly what it intends and more. The work brings the sky to life. The tree plays a truly background role.
*#44 Michael Van Dam Emerging Dragon
A grand dragon. Even though the technique is familiar, this piece dominates the esplanade. It is a wonderful work, complete and definitive. The deserved winner of the People's and the Children's choice. Why do judges think that they have to pick unusual, pseudo-intellectual, smart 'arty' works as winners?
*45 Giuseppe Filardo I sea
The attempt to develop a work of art on the basis of a pun is always fraught with problems, even if the text tries to explain the game differently. The pun always dominates with its singular punchline.
46 Ben Carroll Relics from Atlantis
Balls of fun. Questions about ignoring the natural world seem beyond the work itself. It is as if this is an attempt to give an idea some 'art' depth.
*47 Dion Parker Untitled Torso
A wonderfully elegant piece that echoes the beautiful forms of the body with no apology, just delight; and with skill and perfection.
48 Lance Seadon The Rowers
This is a beautifully made piece that becomes too literal. It could be a wonderful boat.
49 Cyril Campbell Heron
The most elegantly frugal work on display. It makes one look and think, and realise how fragile our understandings and interpretations really are: two twigs or a bird?
*#50 Scott Maxwell GOOGLEMON
'How aligned are your thoughts?' One is reminded of ex-Prime Minister Abbott in this fragmented work that brings to mind one of the old Victorian pier illusion games – pay a penny and peruse. Maybe there should have been a penny box? Awkwardly, the completed vision remains ambiguous, uncertain, lacking in refinement. One lady said it was an elephant!
51 Elaine Miles Tidal Pools#3
The piece is so elegant that it remains fragile as an idea and a resolution; but the intent is there.
*52 Ged McCormick Wheelie Windy
Simply enjoyable, with little pretence. The subject is obvious and playful. It is priced sensibly too, modestly.
53 Mark Warne Sentinel
The intent is admirable, but the expression remains lost in another world, perhaps that of the artist.
54 Fiona Kemp Starting Over Again
A puzzling effort that seems too literal. It fails to transcend itself.
55 Jerome Frumar Queens Land
Maybe it should just have been Ganesh's crown on Elephant Rock. The other puns and eulogies weaken the whole: Queens Land?: 'idyllic nature of life on the Gold Coast'? - cringe. The charm of an elephant's crown keeps the playful spirit and form of the work alive with a coherent meaning that all gets smudged by the word games.

For the general review of the festival see:

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