Wednesday 26 September 2018


The 2018 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 2018 below gives a brief commentary on each work.



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, to 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 Glen Manning & Cathy Daly, QLD    CONTINUUM

This frame is strangely albino by day, but colourful by night, in spite of the illustration in the catalogue. This confuses the observer who becomes distracted by the additional puzzle layered on to this enigmatic maze of pipes.

02 Dion Parker & Andrew Cullen, QLD    PRICKLES THE UNHUGALBE BEAR
(surely they meant UNHUGGABLE?)

One might have hoped the spelling could have been correct – or is this an artistic liberty? Apologies for not recognising this cleverness, but what does it mean? The concept is intellectual, and lacks cohesive strength in expression beyond its scale. The story of this barbed wire entanglement made into a teddy bear is cute, but it leaves one pondering rather than feeling, experiencing loss or concern about change.

03 Karl Myer, SA    FOCI

This is a most beautifully crafted work. It can be admired on many levels, other than the one described: a place of contemplation. It seems too worryingly saw-tooth for relaxed reverie. It is a shame because this work is convincing in its stamina. It could easily be seen holding pride of place in a corporate lobby, as a form inspired by nature. The lighting made the work that held strength by day, a wonder by night.

04 Nick Warfield, NSW    DINGO

A beautiful idea that struggles to embody its potential depth. It is difficult to express such intense sensibility with a careful clutter of pieces. Sadly, the lighting of this piece was truly terrible.


It is difficult to get excited about an old, reworked idea that really does not have much prominence by day. It has some pretty shadows; and the night lighting of a few parts did have some interesting textures and colours. A ‘return to a celebration’ is difficult to achieve with the original energy and intensity.

06 Phillip & Alex Piperides, QLD    CURRUMBIN ROCK – BOY

At least this work had a simple and modest rationale. It looked wonderful on the rock, full of the interest and enthusiasm of youth. It truly captured the innocence of exploration – children playing on the beach on a day out from the suburbs of Brisbane. It is an experience understood by many. Sadly the black blob in the catalogue gives no true sense of what the work is. It is also a shame that sculpture 07 is projected over the same rock as thought the ‘boys’ were not there.

07 Glenn Barry & Brian Keayes, QLD    LIGHT ROCK

This is an interesting light work. It does change the emphasis of SWELL, making it a light display at night. The work is only a series of strange ‘T’ poles during the day. It rudely projects over sculpture 06, using the same rock. One might have thought that each work might have recognised the other, or have been separated. Still, it was one of the more intriguing works.

08 Stanislav Roudavoski, VIC    THE HEX

A beautiful work that leaves one wanting to look more. The mathematical form is beautiful, purely fractal. Was this piece too ephemeral to be a winner? Sadly, public expectations do have a role in the choice of the winner: it seems it has to be a ‘sculpture,’ and big, to match the prize: one, it seems, has to see ‘the value’ as a material thing. It is a shame that the piece was not regularly a part of the display. We saw it only by chance, once. It looked superb hanging in the evening light. (Apparently it was either too windy, or not windy enough for general display: is this a weakness?)

09 Allan Mourab & Clayton Blake, QLD    PERPETUAL CONSUMPTION

A great concept and image in the catalogue, but why is it just an arch on display? The idea is brilliant, but the essence seems to have been lost. Was this a structural problem? The clash makes an irrelevance out of thereferences, turning them into something adaptable, when the heart of art is necessity.

10 Jaco Roeloffs, QLD    SANDBERG

A nicely crafted work that seems over-worked as a concept. Why might a pile of sand ever refer to an iceberg? Are there really 81 facets? Does it matter? A photo of the sand on the sand, stacked as a complex of triangulated pieces making a pointy solid, seems more of an intellectual challenge than anything else.

11 Jo Elliott, NSW    WAR OF THE WORLDS

One needs to know more about plankton here to appreciate the skill of this piece that looks more like solid jellyfish. Reinforcing bar is difficult to transform into an elegant expression.

12 Wesley Harrop,SA    ZYGOMATICUS

Dimples may appear to be ‘a sign of beauty and innocence,’ but the making of dimples does not create these qualities, or the idea of ‘imperfections’ in such an arty, ‘lifebuoy’ resolution.

13 Kannithaly Ly, QLD    SANDY SUNDAYS

Some pretty ‘Victorian’ cloths on timber frames blowing nicely in the wind. Did the Gold Coast ever have bathing boxes like those on Melbourne beaches? This is news to me. It is difficult to experience the idea while looking at the work.

14 Antone Bruinsma, QLD    THE THREE GRACES

Is it too easy to carelessly say ‘The Three Disgraces’? They are certainly not this. One can appreciate the idea, but the experience becomes a struggle that has to give in too much to see the point. The work looks like uncomfortable seats, (hence the barrier?), but has a much richer message to convey. The pieces are beautifully made, but might have been better lying on, embedded in the sand, or being placed on a specially-designed, Aalto-esque podium: (I am thinking of his vase.)

15 Karl Chilcott, SWEDEN    NGARA TREE

A gold-painted trunk and stump - $15,000 – truly challenges the observer, even after having read the blurb. It is very unfortunate that the work was placed beside an actual dead stump, not painted. Was this terrible contrasting clash intended?

16 Jordan Azcune, QLD    SURRENDER (SAFEGUARD)

One might have hoped that the artist might have reviewed his artwork and surrendered. It is very difficult to become engaged in such literal stories and understandings, even though one can see the point. The complex structure does attract the eye, but is it because it might be too much of a puzzle?

17 Greg Quinton, NSW    JUMP

This is one work that has a surprising, a stunning latent energy. Was it too simple to be a winner; too small; too straightforward; too transparent? It really embodies a power and action that astonishes, and engages.

18 Kari, QLD with Ross Annels    SHEMPLE ON THE SHORE

Is the reference to a t‘emple’ on the ‘sh’ore? The catalogue shows it in the water and it looks much better here than on the sand. One has to look at Japanese temples to see how weak this work is, to sense potential it is lacking. Invented names really do not improve the ‘creativity’ of a piece.

19 John Fuller, QLD    WHAT ARE WE SINKING

Puns really do not work as art. What do you ‘sink’ about this? Do sinks work as seats, or is the concept merely a game, a visual pun? The set of ‘seats’ looked like a furniture showroom display rather than a considered sculptural group.


The text is suggestive. Is one supposed to use the funnels to drizzle sand through them to build a sand castle? Maybe; but no one did! The shadows were interesting.


Does this work glorify plastic waste just too much? The issue of pollution extremely serious; the work appears too playfully unconcerned with the issue, while using it as a beginning. Still, it is an interesting, coloured piece.

22 Melissa Spratt, QLD    RESURGENCE

This work seems to suffer from the apparent struggle to recreate a sketched concept in an actual work for display. It feels similarly awkward with its sense of meaning that is far too factual a reference, lacking any immediacy in its reading, its feeling. It transforms itself at night to give the catalogue image: the daylight appearance is difficultly dull.

23 Gordon Holden, QLD    WALTZING MATES

A strange mix of complex references: mates of different colour, size, gender, ethnicity are apparently waltzing, (note variation in height for rhythm to be seen from above), on a chequerboard that looks like a chess game, and chess pieces, a notion reinforced by the black-and-white ‘mates’ on ‘checks’: but it is not. It is difficult to move beyond the intellectualism of the work that has some pretty stone in it. Might it have been better to do one piece perfectly? Number rarely helps in any work unless there is a necessity for quantity.

24 Clayton Blake, QLD    TRAFFICKING (also 09)

Probably one of the best sculptural images on the site, but unfortunately it gets terribly confused with its references that offer a sad misfit to any serious understanding. Mr. Blake has a wonderful feel for sculptures of large scale. It is a true shame that the lighting did not use the marvellous reflective quality of the work discovered as the car lights swept across the sculpture.


An enigmatic work that is not helped by its blurb.

26 Ryoko Kose, VIC    JUST KEEP GOING

It is difficult to interpret this work that appears so random, so ad hoc. The words ask so much of it that they baffle.

27 Monte Lupo, QLD    THE SEAMSTRESS

A narrative as a sculpture becomes a difficult beginning from which to create colour and form. The experience can so easily go astray as a reading of the intent, its confirmation.


An interesting piece with some quirky parts that make a variety of pretty images. The idea of these being ‘in balance with the natural world’ remains a puzzle.

29 Abraham Tongia, QLD    SHE IS HIS & HE IS HERS

The surprise with this work was the scale and the materials. One had to look hard for the sacred reference. Promoting a work photographed from the ground when it is viewed from high above, seems tricky.


The galah appears somewhat awkward, too vertical, with an odd layering of its parts. It has a wonderful eye, but sadly lacks the integral expression of the wire works of other years.

31 Collaboration Joy Heylen, Luke Mallie,
Rhonda Sharpe, Jacqueline Damon,
Agata Mouasher, QLD    EMBRYO

Too many cooks? Perhaps the aside is too easy. The work seems to seek symbolism in the mechanics. Traditionally, as weft and warp, this makes sense, but the method alone was never enough to structure meaning. There was always more. But alas, the ‘woven’ image did not appear. Instead we have three large tyre shapes standing on the sand. What is the intention? Does it change? Embryo? This work leaves one astonished for the wrong reasons.

32 Thomas Reifferscheid, GERMANY    BLADE

An interesting ‘sabre’ work that holds a simplicity in its tension: that this material, that is so strong in compression, horizontally, might stand firmly vertically when so slim, surprises. The rough and the smooth are subtle, but the piece seems to seek too much meaning in its words, messages that are not immediately obvious in the work. Things get muddled.

33 Marie-France Rose, NSW    IN THE FLOW

All the parts of the story are there, but what do they communicate? Birds and window. One is left to fit everything together, as suggested.


An interesting piece with a simple, subtle wholeness. The whimsy is quaint, making it appear a somewhat less serious work. It has something of the Duchamp about it, but not the rich intensity.

35 Lance Seadon, NSW    SANCTUARY

The bamboo structure is impressive in scale but lacks the quality of a sanctuary. The space for gathering, sharing, reflecting, and resting is a tiny core, filled with a bundle of bamboo. There is hardly any space for the feet, let alone the idea of shelter. The outer spaces are even less inviting, causing one to hunch up.

36 Kirsten Baade, QLD    KALEIDOSCOPE

A lovely work that plays with the geometry of the mirrored hexagon. It is not a surprise, but is intriguing, as all kaleidoscopes are.

37 Dave Hicksen, NSW    52 WOMEN

This work comprises lots of interesting little pieces that are really hard to look at. Much is repeated. The subject is serious, but difficult to express by number alone. The work makes a great shadow.

38 Phillip Piperides, QLD    FACING EAST (also 06)

An elegant, formal work that does what the artist says, other than highlight ‘the connection between nature and oneself.’





07 (with 06)


It felt empty: the stroll along the Currumbin esplanade felt disappointing. One wondered: “Has everything been put in place yet?” The event was not due to open until the next day, and there were great gaps in between the sculptures that seemed to suggest that the numbers had dropped off significantly for this year’s SWELL Sculpture Festival. After purchasing the 2018 booklet the following day, the numbers were confirmed: only 38 submissions this year – but the quality did not appear to have improved. It looked as though the fall in the number of submissions was not a result of any culling to ensure a high standard for this highly-praised, self-promoted sculpture exhibition:^ “works of art that speak to our soul” is how the confident co-founder/curator and the creative director described the display. It looked like a lesser version of Sculpture by the Sea at Bondi, but it was hyped as “Queensland’s biggest.” The introductions in the booklet were full of what we now describe as ‘Trump-like’ superlatives. One had to guess that, given what looked like low numbers and questionable standards, the committee might have struggled to get to 38 submissions. It seemed to be a real concern. What might have gone wrong? How rigorous is the assessment of submissions?



My previous critiques have made the issues clear – and here we go again, in 2018. Simple repetition of a formula inevitably means that a growing familiarity eventually generates disinterest, distraction, with attention being given to the mechanics of reiteration rather than to invention, a ‘fresh eye.’ Such an approach might eventually lead to failure. Ironically, one probably has to be aware of the recurrence of a critique too: it is simply too easy to be repetitious. The presumption and promotion of other times, of other experiences and ideas, can develop a real carelessness, almost encouraging and endorsing a lack of the self-criticism necessary for the maintenance of energy, vibrancy and quality. Why might the promoters expect rigour in the sculptures when the artists see a lack of it in the iterant management of the event. Do the artists get swamped, drowned to reality by the exuberant praise offered to them? Yet again we see the same graphics, all as in other years, with the work of some of the same artists, illustrated with sculptures from previous years, reproduced in 2018: and the catalogue still costs $5.00, being sold from the same tents, in the same locations, maybe by the same people, promoting much of the same again – and it seems likely to do it again, and again, again. Does anyone care? Does the recipe make everything feel ‘safe,’ predictable?



Open the catalogue, and the same map as has been there for years is reproduced again as the centrefold, that infamous, but dominant location in men’s magazines, with a few alterations. The prominence of this position is not matched in the detail. There is no food section this year# – why?; and yet again, the sculptures are represented by un-numbered, random red dots. Why not make the map a useful, accurate and specific reference identifying the location of the particular sculptures to allow easy cross-referencing with the catalogue? Might this be just too much effort? The map borders on meaninglessness. There are 38 submissions listed in the catalogue, but the map identifies the sculptures with only 35 red dots: 14 on sand, and 21 on grass; even the north point is incorrect – just check Google maps: it is not difficult to get right. Surprisingly, when one counts the actual arrangement of the sculptures, 22 of them are on the beach, on sand, with the remaining 16 being positioned in the grassed area.* The map can only be described at best, as broadly schematic, a rough sketch, nothing more. Such apparent carelessness does not promote excitement or rigour, merely languor. The sloppiness reveals a certain blasé nonchalance, an almost ‘this is boring’ attitude to the tasks involved: “Here we go again: just as before.”



It is indeed a “Here we go again.” Reading the titles given to the sculptures and the associated ‘explanatory’ blurb, one just cringes: read the catalogue and squirm: see -
Why on earth is such material allowed to be published? Does no one ever review these statements prior to publication? Even to correct the expression and punctuation might help a little, but things are much more problematical. One supposes anything might go when there is a simple error in the co-founder/curator and creative director’s statement, in their paying “tribute to all artist (sic) for their generosity of spirit.” Texts such as those offered by the ‘artist’ are in grave danger of turning the public away from all art, transforming the concept into a blatantly silly self-indulgence. One could go through each line and note the issues, but why bother? Check it out: the concerns are all so self-evident to anyone who might read the words and peruse the sculpted images with some ordinary, simple awareness and honest, open experience: decide what “speaks to the soul,” and what does not.



Sadly, this textual extravagance with meanings, concepts, forms, and ideas seems to have been repeated in the sculptures. Here there appears to be a raw base of inspirational, verbal and conceptual puns that have been transformed into reality, into descriptive facts, and used as ‘references,’ seemingly to create ‘meaningful’ forms, wanting the richness of experience to arise from the intellectualism of the enterprise alone, as if feelings and emotions no longer held any significance or commitment in the process. The last sculpture, number 38, perches on the fence as a set of 52 maquettes that look like more of Moore (Henry) – perhaps less might really be more? This collection apparently represents the number of women killed each year by “their current or former partner.” Yet, oddly, this compelling statement in counting that we are asked to sense as an essential whole, (why else do 52?), can be fragmented: each piece can be sold off separately, for $350, (with no discount for quantity – total $18,200), such is the apparent ‘significance’ of the set. Is any sale worthwhile? Does breaking the set weaken the exclamation of protest; the recognition of a problem?



The colourful frame published in the catalogue as number 1, is explained as being a meaningful transitional reading of coloured experience, investigating “the relationship between material, space and colour;” but the actual piece is all white rather than rainbow: “Go figure!”## One could go on and on. As usual, some odd bits and pieces around the site seemed to make more eye-catching displays than those intended for perusal and ‘appreciation.’ The chrome yellow lifesaver ladder, (‘life guard’: why do we Americanise our world?), left lying on the sand made an excellent sculpture with its unusual alignment, but alas it had no number or explanatory text – so it was obviously not art.

Not art




Likewise the smart timber seat made one look twice for the title reference: nope, not art. The old, dead banksia stump made one similarly pause: no, not art; no number. Only the adjacent old log painted gold, 4500mm x 1500mm x 1500mm, and its matching stump, number 15, (cost $15,000), was art. The idea of ‘good’ prices equating to, almost creating the idea of ‘good art,’ seems to be alive and well. The maxim appears to be: ‘Good art is never cheap.’ The exhibition resonates, echoes, with the memories of the enormous figures some artists manage to get at auction, the latest being a Christie’s estimate of $80 million for a David Hockney: see - . The rock protruding out of the dry grass – no; not art. The bold sign declaring the area unsafe for swimming: again no, but it looked good, prominent, assertive. The bits of red string, (hemp), strung up from posts, to tree, to trunks, to posts; yes – art: it had a number - ‘26’ - and a price: $2000. What might one be purchasing here – the string and the tree, or just the macrame mayhem? One wondered likewise about the light on the rock: number 7 – POA. Did one have to purchase the rock that was referenced in the title? The bits of felt hanging on fine cord from a tree: yep – art with a number; cost $1350 or $270 each, (again no discount for number: no ‘two-for-one’ available). Yet here things get confusing. The work, number 22, is illustrated in the catalogue as an intriguing, translucent, glowing, matted yellow mass with LED lighting strung through it. The real work reminded one of ragged, moth-eaten material; moth cases dangling randomly in space: and we are asked to see this as “resurgence” - “a revival of self”?## Yet, in spite of this confusion between intent and experience, the chairperson declares in his foreword: “We think this year’s artists are amazing.” If the images could not be updated for publication schedules, one has to assume that the foreword was written without the chairperson seeing the outcomes. Number 22 was not the only work to highlight a major discrepancy between the illustration in the catalogue and the real work. Number 31, Embryo, was completely transformed from a weave and its verbal rationale, into a set of rusty circles that reminded one of old country, gateway tyres. Is this a failure in concept or time management?



Is it too easy to be over critical, to look as though one might be sniping? There really is no need to repeat myself - just read the reviews of the past years and ponder. The critique in 2018 remains the same as before, only this year things seem more concentrated in their deficiencies and struggles; in their fancy, fanciful, artful efforts and strange rationales. The simple retort to the critic is: “What have you done?” But this response misses the point of criticism, review and analysis. The critic is never there just to confirm the self-praise of the promotional material, to join the positive chorus: see the forewords, that were probably all written prior to the viewing of any of the works, for this. The critic stands by and observes, reveals readings and understandings from a point outside, disconnected, objective, not with any intent to be malicious; rather to try to elaborate on things in an honest effort to make them ever better by seeing them in a broader, a different context. But alas, this prompting for improvement never appears to work, not with SWELL anyhow. The same goes on every year, time and time again: only this year things seem to be lesser and meaner; more problematically difficult; more strained: thinner. The suggestions have been made in other years. These still stand.

Behind this critique lies the question: What is art? The argument could go that there are many different understandings of art – “This is just what you think” - but if we are to connect as a society, as a culture, then there have to be common roots, common understandings, shared ambitions, or else we will become/remain a disconnected rabble. This is really no place to explore the complex matter of the meaning of art, but the subject does require some comment. Art is more than punning; art is more than an intellectual analysis and a rational piecing together; art is more than MY vision of things; art is more than self-expression; art is more than craft. David Bohm has outlined the artistic enterprise – see ART & METHOD in the sidebar. He suggests art is a communication that involves an understanding of what is and what is not. The ‘what is not’ seems to be missing from a lot of the sculptures, with the ‘what is’ being hopefully promoted without question or review. It does not take much self-criticism to understand how others might possibly read a piece or perceive a text; how others might be befuddled by a lack of rigour and cohesion, both in idea, concept, craft and expression. Robert Graves wrote about the idea of self-review as The Reader Over Your Shoulder. The idea needs to be implemented. It is too easy to be blinded by one’s excitement, one’s enthusiasm about something; to be egged on by amiable, agreeable friends.


A marvellous eye

Mr. Lovatt’s galah, number 30, was apparently inspired by his ‘playful Muriel.’ We have galahs that come in every day, but none of them look quite like his work; and this does not refer to the wire: yet there is something of a likeness. The concern has to do with the basic shaping, not the making – the ‘galah’ gestures: its stance. Was Muriel not well? Where is the precision of identity, the wonder of his other wire works seen in other years: their expressive certainty and clarity? Has the making for colouring altered things; taken attention away from the whole? It really is difficult not to continue with what could be seen to be and feel like ‘sarcastic’ statements, but the works appear to allow themselves to be open to this approach with their sometimes crass interpretations and pretentious explanations: they tease the critic into cutting responses, such is, at times, their rudeness, their blatant, irrational crudeness.


Mr. Trotter’s piece, number 34, seemed one of the least offensive, creating a fantasy story to explain his ‘marine detector’ reverie constructed as a tripod collection of beautiful little parts, some of which are very sweet portions: but is it too easy to suggest that he is going backwards by spelling his name in reverse? One wonders why he did not arrange the letters to read ‘Sir C. H. Rettort.’ This might have looked more prestigious. In one way he seems to be in reverse, but this work does have a simple visual cohesion and a certain delicacy, a sensitivity that can be appreciated.


Likewise, the trafficking piece, number 24, is just as honest in its visual simplicity and strength of concept, but the punning transforms matters, making almost a joke out of a serious issue, creating a sad, nearly mocking clash; a ‘car crash,’ as it were, continuing the analogy. Vehicular traffic that involves ‘traffic’ cones, and the ‘trafficking’ of people have no relationship other than in sound. There is no essential symbolism alive or alert here. Even the reflective surface of the cone does not equate nicely with the quiet reflection needed on this subject. Puns belittle, distort and disturb meaning just too easily. Maree Cootes’ recent children’s book, Robyn Boid Architect, is full of them and suffers because of this: see - Here one recalls the barbed wire teddy bear, Prickles, number 2, the winner, that looks just like a Coote illustration in this book. Is the ‘egg’ in this egg-xciting, egg-xtraordinary, egg-xceptional work: its egg-cellenceegg-xactly?
Architecture is like an egg, thought Robyn, full of egg-xciting possibilities” p.24 (Oh dear!)


Maree Coote illustration


Number 21, that appears to happily promote ‘fantastic plastic,’ is perhaps the prettiest of all the sculptures, but it seems to praise plastic waste, to use this problem as an inspiration, when one might have been more impressed with the expression of a greater concern for this terrible polluting product that has consumed our lives and cluttered, permeated our environment and ourselves. The only interesting possibility is that a very little bit of the waste has found a new life in this colourful piece – cost $7670. Is there a mysterious symbolism in these numbers? Might it be the Boeing 767? Oh!


A subtle irony

The dingo work, number 4, is one of the very few that touches on a lived experience – ‘to lock eye with a Dingo.’ Here lies the beginning of something of quality, something substantial - Martin Buber wrote about this experience in I and Thou - but it is difficult to achieve depth of meaning out of recycled trash parts that mess and mock so easily. Trotter was a master at this transformation with his early animal works. His bits’n’pieces works now seem to rely on other references that are less obvious in their readings; more quirky, although expressed in a quaint manner, whatever they might be. Meanings can torture experience, twist it, contort it, just as they can, when there is an alignment, enrich and stimulate depths of feeling and emotion. It is this lack of alignment that seems to be of concern in the sculptures: a lack of cohesive emotional depth and rigour. Much of the work appears strangely schizophrenic, uneasy and uncertain in its being.



Here one looks back to the lack of rigour in the management, and asks the obvious question: but it seems there is no desire to change. Is it just too easy to repeat things “forever and ever”? – (apologies to David Bowie Heroes). The chairman’s introductory words are, “SWELL makes it look too easy.” Maybe SWELL is made ‘too easy’ with its annual repetition? One can, like John Betjeman, admire the effort, but still acknowledge the weaknesses. It is sad that no one appears interested in doing anything about these issues. Is this the future of art; of SWELL? If it is, why not have an award for the most fanciful text; the most obscure reference; the most kitsch of analogies: a little like the ‘Ig Nobel’ awards? There is a lot of material to choose from.


And the SWELL 2018 winner is: number 2 - a prickly decision? It seems to hold no necessary symbolism in its message – merely the rough, explanatory analogy and the words: it is difficult to bear. (Oh, punning is so contagious!)


One can imagine Michelangelo explaining his David in this context:
The male figure has always engaged me. Its muscular vitality and intimate balance as an expression of shared personal satisfaction and individual contentment has stimulated me in my development as an artist. Marble is the perfect material to express the translucent, soft sheen of the skin; the gleaming beauty of the face; the hang of the loose locks; the bouncy balance of the buttocks; the sinuous swelling of the muscles; the surging stretch of the veins; and the intimate intertwining of cultural meanings and diversions in a social circumstance of engaged symbolism that weathers richly and improves, consolidates with time and context as a sensuously tactile surface, just as in the mystery of the journey of life and its continuum.

As the headlights swung across the work, it was transformed into a reflective wonder.
It is a shame the lighting did not explore this delight.

One volunteer advised that only about one third of the submissions made to the curatorial committee had been selected for the display.

While much of the past was repeated, this year saw the removal of the food area, and the ‘Smalls’ gallery. Thankfully the remote food/gallery location promoted last year was abandoned, (this never made sense), but it was not replaced by anything. These were experienced as gaps like those between the sculptures. The food outlets and gallery area did add another dimension to the event that needs to be reconsidered, bettered. It was always odd to have food squeezed into one corner on the other side of the road. Local outlets offer some services, but food other than ice-creams on the ocean side of the road, integrated with the displays, (maybe in the gaps?), would enliven the precinct; allow folk to pause rather than merely pass. In the same way, the ‘Smalls’ gallery offered another dimension to the display, a nexus with the shops opposite, offering smaller, more affordable pieces for review and purchase. It is always of interest to see a maquette, to understand the artistic process of developing an idea. The ‘Smalls’ also offered other artists an opportunity for public display when their work might not have been appropriate for outdoor display, either because of its scale and/or materials. The possibilities for improvement are many: it merely needs the will that first of all must acknowledge the gaps and the potentials. Self-praise, with its blind self-satisfaction, can too easily allow one to miss opportunities, just as it seems to have allowed the simple error in the text that, at the best, reeks of haste; at worst, carelessness.
(An informant told us that the Gold Coast City Council would not let SWELL use the usual food area as it killed the grass. One wonders: why does the Council support this event?
This individual also noted that not one nearby business would give SWELL any space for the Smalls Gallery: but it seems that all adjacent businesses like to profit form SWELL.
SWELL needs to think around these strange complexities and solve the problems positively rather than just accepting and forgetting them.)

Something has to be said about the broad distribution of the sculptures. Anyone looking at all of the works soon discovers that there are vast distances to cover between the individual pieces that have been distributed to fill the area that is normally used for a greater number of sculptures. One does wonder about persons with prams and those with any disability. With more works this year being located on the sand, most of the exhibition seems to have been isolated from folk who find traversing such surfaces difficult or impossible. This is a public exhibition and should be accessible to all. There seemed to be no necessity in favouring the beach as a display space because there were large open spaces between the works in the grassed esplanade areas. One might ask the organisers to give more thought to accessibility. There does not appear to be any reason to sprawl out other than this has always been done. Sculptures on the sand could be located closer to the beach access points, making them readily accessible to all, and closer to those who are unable to manage the sand surface.
(The informant told us that the location of the sculpture, on sand or grass, was defined by the artist.)

## The colour arrives at night. Like a few other pieces, the lighting significantly transforms the piece. One never discovers this without an evening visit. The challenge surely is to make all pieces equally powerful in both the day and the night; otherwise, the likelihood is that SWELL will become ‘sculpture by night,’ something akin to Canberra’s marvellous Enlighten Festival.

But the intellect just discriminates, it does not experience, and therefore does not recognise the real value and truth in life. The intellect is the prodigal son who forgot his original home. He is to be told of it and to return.

Commentary on Sengai, The Zen Master Catalogue Queensland Art Gallery 1985.