Saturday, June 28, 2014

Stephen Walker, Tasmanian Sculptor.

Stephen Walker.

With the recent death of Stephen Walker has lost its most celebrated artists. A sculptor of great technical talent, capable of casting monumental bronze works single handed in his studio. Over the sixty years or more Stephen studded the State with endless examples of his creative genius.

I first met Stephen during the years I ran the Harrington Street Gallery in Hobart, when his frequent visits often ended in long discussions on the state of current art practice in Australia. At the time I was conducting monthly reviews of our latest exhibitions of International Graphic Art. He would inevitably phone to make further points of view. Generally we were in agreement, his knowledge of art history and the legacy current practitioners owe to the past. During the 1950’s he had studied under Henry Moore and worked as his assistant were he had acquired an encyclopaedic knowledge of bronze casting.  A practice that today so many young sculptors consider dated, yet bronze casting has been with us almost as long as humans attempted to record their three dimensional images.

Stephan Walker’s creative works covers most visual interpretations of the world around us from abstraction to figurative, using natural materials, or casting at his Native Corner Studio at Campania. Unfortunately I did not meet up with Stephen during his eighteen month say in Rome and Florence as it would have been a delight to walk around Rome examining Bernie’s bronzes. I suspect his experience of Rome’s massive public sculpture spurred him on to make such a contribution to Tasmania’s sculptural stocks.

The range of his imagery can be gaged by comparing his wooden work ‘The Antipodean Voyage’, a memorial fountain to the French Explorers in Hobart’s Botanical Gardens to ‘Tidal Pools’ a bronze sculpture now located at Lower Sandy Bay. Then there is the Abel Tasman Fountain in Salamanca Place a highly figurative work. Over the years Walker has endowed Tasmania with many fine bronze tributes to both the creatures of the sea and air living in the Southern Ocean. Some are located in very remote regions, the bronze ‘Whale’ at Cockle Creek stands looking out towards Antarctica. His legacy will live on for future generations to enjoy.


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Common Sence

What is meant by common-sense, is it public opinion, a reasonable and sensible attitude towards events, people’s actions, or individuals? The media love to quote common sense as the end product of what is correct and desirable. But all too often common-sense is full of error, prejudice or just plain daftness. When we submit such attitudes to philosophical examination we find all sorts of contradictions.

How true is what we think about love, money, children, work, religion, politics and the hundred and one attitudes that we imagine are held in common by everyone. To truly think is to know yourself. How logical are our answers to the above questions? Or are our opinions simply some established position we have learnt and accepted over time.

Philosophical answers to these questions require commitment to self-knowledge. Follow Socrates advice and know yourself. Humans spend the greater part of their lives searching for happiness, we over rate things that we think will improve our lives. We are guided by false hopes, false glamour. While we underestimate simple things, going to bed earlier to improve our health, taking daily walks or exercise, have a structured conservation with people we love or like. Pay attention to activities and attitudes that will improve your life. We need to analyse our emotional response to life’s events so they don’t impact on behaviour.

What matters and what doesn’t is our ability to undertake long term thinking.