LYN DI CIERO
Mark Thompson, winner of the Castaways Sculpture Awards Alcoa Major Award with his work Whale. Photo Lyn DiCiero.
In his first exhibition since 1999, and his first entry in Castaways, Rockingham-born, Bicton-based artist Mark Thompson has won the $10,000 Major Alcoa Award at Castaways Sculpture Awards. Thompson’s work consists of recycled off-cut aluminium, riveted together to form the shape of a sperm whale, the subject matter inspired by his daughter Clara’s love of the species.
Stunned and incredulous at his win, Thompson says it validates his place as an artist. “I entered competitions early in my career, but this is the first show I’ve been in for many years, so I haven’t put much effort into it. Winning has changed my perspective, and I’ll certainly be thinking more about making art.” He says the funds will go to more equipment to create more artworks. “The prize money will give me that luxury to think more about making,” he says.
Judges Professor Clive Barstow from Edith Cowan University, and public artist Stuart Green said the work was simple and understated, using what we know about the whale, into a skin, transforming heavy to light. They say it asks many questions, such as the place it holds in our eco-system. “It is provocative rather than explanatory – simple but powerful, and alone – and hints at a monumentality and a quirky nobility.”
Highly Commended was Bridgetown artist Kim Perrier with Carbonature Metamorphosis ‘A Quest for Balance,’ blending aluminium with jarrah charcoal in a newly developed method which remains secret.
Winner of the $5000 City of Rockingham Innovation Award for excellence in using recycled materials in an unexpected way was Rag Doll by Roleystone-based artist Jill Smith. The work is a life size figure of a girl, completely covered in recycled fabric and makes a comment about the disparity between fun on the beach, and the devastation on sea life taking place in our oceans.
Winner of the $5000 Water Corporation Sustainability Award for a work supporting sustainability in its message was duo Heloise Roberts and Moira Craig with Pathogen, consisting of a group of tumbleweed-like forms created from recycled plastic bottles. The shapes resemble that of the molecular structure of the COVID-19 virus, underlining plastic as another perilous virus threatening to consume the planet
Winner of the $2,500 Maquette and Small Sculpture Exhibition, on show concurrently during Castaways at Rockingham Arts Centre was South Fremantle artist Margaret Dillon with Conglomeration, a group of forms created from concrete impregnated with recycled aluminium shavings and recycled rope, the innovative use of materials resulting in an elegant and engaging work. Highly Commended was Lisa Dymond, and both Hans Arkeveld and Eleonara Barcellona received Honorable Mentions.
The Local Resident Award was won by Carol Clitheroe for Respect for the Echinoderm, a group of three forms created from recycled plastic, buttons and beads. The work pays homage to this underestimated and beautifully patterned species, whose life span is over 30 years.
The winner of the Primary Schools Competition was Oakwood Primary School with Oh, oh Omeo…underwater hOmeo, inspired by Coogee wreck, with students depicting how the wreck can evolve into a ‘home’ or habitat for many forms of sea life. The winner of the Secondary Schools Competition was A Plastic Coast Creature by Rockingham Senior High School Education Support Centre, who created a kinetic group of jellyfish inspired by debris found during the school beach clean-up program, transforming the negative impact of debris into an object of beauty.
Castaways Sculpture Awards continues with the main exhibition at Rockingham Foreshore, the Schools Competition on Churchill Park and the Maquette and Small Sculpture Exhibition at Rockingham Arts Centre until Sunday 31 October. Free catalogues are available.
ARTIST TALKS Sat 30 Oct: 10.30am Pavel Perina, 11.30am Tuinna Blackie, 1pm Liliana Stafford, 2pm Guest Artist Tania Spencer. Sun 31 Oct: 1.30pm Peter Hill.
Conglomeration, concrete impregnated with recycled aluminium shavings and recycled rope by Margaret Dillon, winner of the $2,500 Castaways Maquette and Small Sculpture Exhibition.
Rag Doll, found fabric, painted canvas, resin, hydrostone and fibreglass by Jill Smith, winner of the $5,000 City of Rockingham Innovation Award.