Phillip Piperides

the NUDE

February 24 - March 10 2018

During Phillip Piperides' recent travels through Europe he was impressed by the great number of monumental statues, both modern and contemporary, that adorn the plazas. He recognised how the general populace became unwittingly immersed in art as they conducted their daily lives amidst them. Inspirational as this was, and notwithstanding the many monumental public commissions he too had made back in Australia, Piperides felt the need to again create more intimate works. The resultant bronzes are focused on the studio model and the searching for a nuance in the pose that will evoke the essence of his subject. 'More than naturalistic representations, my work is about capturing moments which occupy a space in time.'

A classical serenity embues the bronzes Piperides creates. Light gently caresses rounded volumes and lustrous, burnished surfaces. Enormous skill is required in the lengthy and painstaking processes involved in bringing mute, raw materials into a life-suffused, physical reality. Piperides meticulously presides over every stage. In the new body of work, rather than striving for a preconceived outcome, he has responded to the poses his live models have naturally assumed. Although proportion and form are carefully observed, Piperides understands the unclothed figure as a 'landscape' of soft undulations. When a particularly evocative pose manifests, it is directly rendered into a clay maquette, the tactile medium providing the means for him to 'think three-dimensionally.'

Content that a preliminary maquette is aesthetically fulfilling, Piperides then enlarges it by modelling clay over a steel armature. A cast is subsequently made into which is poured molten bronze. Once cool, the cast is dismantled and innumerable hours of chipping away dross and polishing ensue. Finally a patination is applied to give the bronze its distinctive colour characteristics: deep lustrous brown, gold or greenish-black.

One of the pleasures in viewing a Piperides' bronze sculpture arises from our understanding that a soft malleable material has been transposed into a solid and enduring personification of a transitory mood. There is a sense of complete quietude to the self-sufficient repose of each figure. Beyond the anatomical perfection and modulated play of light, the works engage us at a deeply contemplative level.

At the outset of his career Piperides realised the absence of foundries capable of casting bronze sculptures in Australia and so during the 80's he journeyed to Greece and Italy to investigate the casting techniques of the great masters. He returned to Brisbane with crucial knowledge and established the Perides Art Foundry, generously sharing and teaching the complex processes he'd learnt abroad. In recognition of his service to the arts and the achievements of his personal practice, Piperides was awarded a Churchill Fellowship in 1989. The grant enabled him to undertake further study in the USA, Canada and England where he explored contemporary methods of monumental casting.


Piperides' superb craftsmanship and mastery of form has earned him a great number of prestigious public commissions among which include: the Bee Gees sculpture, Redcliffe, Queensland, 2013; Images, acquired by Skywalk, Brisbane Airport, Queensland, 2013;
Kokoda Track War Memorial, Ferntree Gully, Victoria, 2013; Darren Lockyer sculpture, Suncorp Stadium, Queensland, 2013; C.O. portrait bust, Sugar Cane Board, Queensland, 2013; Monument to the Vietnamese boat people, Kangaroo Point, Queensland, 2013; Walking On Glass, Brisbane Boys College, Queensland, 2011; Portrait sculpture of Hurry Murry for The Queensland Club 2011; Portrait plaque of the Hon. Ian Callinan, Justice of the High Court of Australia, 2011; Memorial to Peter Lacey, Gold Coast, 1997; the Stinson Crash Memorial, Lamington National Park, Queensland, 1997; the casting of the Australian Coat of Arms for the Australian High Commission, Papua New Guinea, 1996; the Hippocrates sculpture, Royal Brisbane Hospital Medical School, Queensland, 1996; Memorial to Banjo Patterson, Winton Shire Council, Queensland, 1994; Coat of Arms for the Commonwealth Law Courts, Brisbane, 1993; Portrait Medallions, University of Queensland, 1990; the Council Crest, Brisbane City Botanical Gardens, 1990; Bronze and Sandstone Group, Mount Isa Mines building, Brisbane, 1987 and a sculpture for Sheraton Mirage Resort, Gold Coast, 1987.

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