Phillip Piperides

Images

May 29 to June 12 2021

A classical, timeless serenity imbues the sculptures Phillip Piperides creates.  ‘More than naturalistic representations, my work is about capturing moments which occupy a space in time,' he imparts.  The title of the exhibition, Images, refers to musings and perceptions personified into 3D form.  Understanding the unclothed figure as a ‘landscape' of soft undulations, Piperides searches for a nuance in a live model's pose that will evoke the essence of his subject.

One gazes in wonder at the finesse of the variously posed figures.  The outstretching Spring is a masterpiece of suspended animation.  Arms folded and cantilevered from one foot, it is as if she is catapulting into the future, eyes resolutely focused for what might lie ahead.

With eyes contemplatively closed, the Images 1 bronze head is surmounted by a cluster of Monarch butterflies.  Piperides explains that this configuration represents one's personal thoughts about change and transformation.  The metamorphic life cycle of butterflies has conferred these creatures a symbolic significance in many world cultures.

Hands gently resting on crossed ankles, the Dayna marble is an embodiment of grace.  A plaster cast had been shipped to a studio in the Italian town of Pietrasanto where it was faithfully replicated in a block of Carrara marble.  Each year in November, prior to COVID, Piperides journeyed to work in this international sculptors' hub that is near the famous Carrara quarry once frequented by Michelangelo.

Piperides meticulously presides over every stage in transposing a feeling or mood into life-suffused, physical reality.  Enormous skill and patience are required in the creation of a bronze sculpture.  Initially, the pose of a live model is rendered into a clay maquette.  He tells that this tactile medium provides 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.


Light caresses rounded volumes and burnished surfaces.  Apart from anatomical perfection and the sensitive play of light, the works also engage the viewer at a deeply contemplative level.  There is an aura of complete quietude to the self-sufficient repose of each figure.  Free of restless energy, Piperides' sculptures seem to elicit a state of being that is beyond worldly concerns.

At the outset of his career Piperides had noted the absence of foundries capable of casting bronze sculptures in Australia.  During the 80's he thus travelled to Greece and Italy to investigate the casting techniques of the great masters.  Returning to Brisbane he established the Perides Art Foundry and generously shared 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.

 

JACQUELINE HOUGHTON

 


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