Senden Blackwood + Helen Mueller – Closing 23 March

blackwood_mueller_installsEmploying the diminishing art of stone carving through his sensuous and seamless forms, SENDEN BLACKWOOD tirelessly labours upon his hand-carved and polished pieces, building a relationship between his aesthetic ideas and the physical attributes of the stone. Within his current exhibition, kaiu, Blackwood has worked in a range of scale and materials, showcasing his diverse technical ability. He creates stone pieces that evoke a visceral admiration through their impressive display of skill, and encourages a simple engagement with cast bronze works that sit comfortably in the hand.

blackwood_mueller_selections1Though contemplative and in subdued shades of black, white and grey, HELEN MUELLER’s current exhibition, Forest requiem, has elicited excited and perceptive responses from viewers. The restricted palette allows the complex layered forms of the branches to create alluring imagery, thoughtfully paired with areas of blank space to accentuate certain shapes and configurations.


Interview: Senden Blackwood

What is your earliest memory of making art?
While I was growing up my mum made beautiful rustic silver jewellery, so I was able to play around with her tools and materials. The first thing I made was a sterling silver fish skeleton pendant with a gold eye at about age 13. I’ve always been a scavenger, have always looked for objects like extraordinary seed pods and shells. This was my first exploration into making a special object, maybe because I hadn’t yet found the objects I was looking for.

Do you listen to music when you are creating works? If so, what is on high rotation?
Music is a constant in my working life. It distracts my mind so my body can get on with the work. It psychs me up when I’m tired and aching and it buoys my spirits when I realise how much I have yet to do. I’m capricious with new music but the high rotation stayers are Pink Floyd, Tool, Hermitude, Explosions in the sky, Bon Iver and Bonobo.


When preparing for your last exhibition, did you create works around a theme or did the links between the works reveal themselves later on?
I always strived to have my own style, loving that you could see a Clement Meadmore, for instance, and know without a doubt that it was his work. There were no deliberate links between works in my last show, but I like to think a connection between them could be made.

Describe the space in which you create your works (studio, lounge room etc):
My workspace is outdoors next to a beautiful dam. It’s location, however, is where the beauty stops – there’s dust and sludge everywhere and the detritus  of a reductive process, tools strewn around etc. My subconscious is where half of the creating happens though. It’s probably just as messy.

Do you have a favourite piece or favourite pieces? If so, which piece/s and why?
My favourite piece is so far in the future that I can’t conceive it. I know it’s huge though. I consider half of my pieces failures because they just don’t turn out the way I had envisioned. I’m ok with this. I’m still learning and I’m closing the gap.


What has been, for you, a defining moment in your career as an artist?
I had some of my work photographed by an amazing photographer recently. It sent shivers down my spine and prickles along my skin to see my same old pieces in a new light. Suddenly I felt like a professional, ready to be taken seriously.

March 2013 Exhibitions

“I feel like everything I want to say is written in the lines and planes of each piece. The repetitive physical process of carving translates my decisions and ideas into a subtle language, inherent in the finished form.”

“This melaleuca forest formed the starting point for the woodblock prints in this exhibition. In the working process I discovered that struggle can result in rich complexity, in elegance and grace.”


On Friday 8 March, Art Month Sydney will be hosting the Waterloo precinct Art Bar at 2 Danks Street. All the Galleries will be open till 8pm, with the Art Bar kicking off at BMG from 8 till late. We hope you can join us for drinks and and some TGIF fun!

sdcBrenda May Gallery is pleased to present the first exhibition in our project space, Brenda May Annex, by the text-based artist >[sdc]<. Of his work, the Artist writes, “The surface of these paintings, their slowly constructed skins by way of layering and collage techniques, marries the technological space from which their realm of dialogue is drawn and the physical act of painting as a means of interpersonal negotiation.”

Sculpture 2013 – Closing 9 February

The New Year, commencing with an exciting and challenging Sculpture show continues in 2013. This year’s exhibition, unfettered by theme and drawn from around Australia, displays a collection of very diverse works.

After being enticed down the hall by Will Coles’ compelling sculpture ‘Might is Right’, (that also caused a stir in our booth at Art Stage Singapore), the crowds of people present at the 2 Danks Street Gala Opening were reaching for their smart phones upon seeing Arun Sharma’s evocative performance piece. In ‘(de)composition: Untitled (2 pairs of feet)’, four perfectly formed ceramic legs were transformed into underwater relics as fine white powder cascaded down their sides to eventually become a layer of dust.


Sharing a common space are Greer Taylor’s installation centred on nature’s place in politics, Senden Blackwood’s ‘baku’, a powerful hand-carved stone work, and Angela McHarrie’s quirky structure of ascending bright red tables that appear be defying gravity by balancing on an oversized ball-bearing. All three pieces are very different in their construction and affect, displaying the varying nature of sculpture itself.

Other highlights include Barbara Licha’s unconventional use of chicken wire in the captivating wall-mounted tableau ‘Runners’, Ken + Julia Yonetani’s modern take on a classical motif with ‘Still Life: The Food Bowl’, a sculpture formed from Murray River Salt, and Walter Brecely’s ‘The Walkers’, small objects with leg-like prongs that provoke one’s imagination to animate these clustering creatures.


If you haven’t already wandered into the 2 Danks Street complex this year, you still have time to catch Sculpture 2013 before it closes on Saturday 9 February.

Sculpture in the Vineyards 2012

Three BMG represented artists are included in the outdoor sculpture exhibition Sculpture in the Vineyards in the Hunter Valley. Senden Blackwood, Will Coles and Peter Tilley have each installed new works as well BMG exhibited artist Jacek Wankowski.

The exhibition is on view starting 3 November 2012 until the 3 December. Sculpture in the Vineyards was co-curated by BMG artist Todd Fuller.

Focus On: Senden Blackwood

Senden Blackwood knows all too well that sculpture allures touch, however unlike most, he embraces this. Taking queues from artists such as Clement Meadmore and Keizo Ushio, Blackwood’s carved stone sculptures defy their weighty medium through manipulations in shape, creating lucid curves and fluid forms. As he carves such irresistible shapes out of materials that beg for a connection beyond the ocular, Blackwood himself indulges in caressing his work. As he explains, “…I experience great satisfaction in the tactile quality of smooth stone and love to see people compelled to touch my work; to me, this is the greatest compliment.”

Left: Senden Blackwood, ‘amaagari’ 2011, carved limestone, 25 x 57 x 36cm
Right: Senden Blackwood, ‘anara’ 2011, carved granite, 60 x 24 x 18cm

These calm and quiet works often contain elements of texture to further encourage a physical artwork-audience connection. Blackwood’s piece ‘amaagari,’ carved out of limestone, has a flawless smooth exterior that cups a textured center. This texture has been created by hand through hundreds of tiny hemispherical indentations that peter out as they reach the top of the work. The stark contrast between this rough, bumpy surface to the cold, smooth polished outside creates a wonderful tactile juxtaposition.

Senden Blackwood, ‘min’ (two views) 2011, carved basalt, 33 x 22 x 26cm

Complying with the nature of sculpture, Blackwood’s works are intentionally created to be viewed from five angles. His smaller works, however, are also made to be moved into a multitude of positions, with no front, back, top or bottom. An example of this is Blackwood’s work ‘anara‘ that featured in his 2011 exhibition ishi as a wall mounted-piece. ‘anara‘ has recently been sitting in the centre of the table in the Gallery on it’s side, curled over like a fallen leaf. Another example is ‘min,’ which also featured in the 2011 show. The positioning of ‘min‘ changed throughout the duration of the exhibition, providing fresh experiences and encounters of the work.

Blackwood’s most recent sculpture in the Gallery, ‘okyo‘ featured in the Major Artists, Major Works exhibition. This work, with its highly polished surface, was set against the industrial cement floors of the Gallery, providing an interesting contrast. Mirroring all that came within meters of the piece, this work had an ever-changing surface of reflections. In September this year, ‘okyo‘ will be interacting with a very different landscape at the Hidden Sculpture Walk in the cemetery at Rookwood.


Left: Senden Blackwood, ‘okyo’ 2012
carved basalt, 65 x 110 x 77cm

Senden Blackwood, ‘Aio’

Senden Blackwood, ‘aio’ 2012, carved limestone, Corten steel, 101 x 63 x 54cm

The piece feels like a return to “the object”, despite it’s size. While making it I really enjoyed it sitting in all the different positions and felt strongly that I didn’t want to bolt it into one position. I want the purchaser to be able to change it if they wish, to keep it fresh.

Originally I had designed it to sit on one of the arcs. I liked the rounded “pebble” feeling to the convex side, contrasting with the cave/space of the interior. Obviously this presents quite a different feeling to the orientation it’s in now. It was great to discover that it worked both ways.

The names I choose for sculptures are usually quite personal, this one possibly the most so. Ai is the Japanese word for love. To me, ‘aio’ definitely has a feeling of connection and of a loving relationship; two arcs opposite yet connected. The texture makes me think of warm summer holiday memories, of safety, privilege and maternal love. Like watching a sunny field of wheat through sleepy eyes on route to a summer holiday. My partner and I both have nicknames that end in o and we’ve had these names since we were kids. Like I said, personal.

Io is a moon orbiting jupiter. It is apparently the only planetary body in our solar system, other than earth, that has evidence of tectonic plate movement. This spoke to me in relation to the form of ‘aio’, especially when it is positioned concave side up. Sharp rising plates pushed high by huge forces.

Senden Blackwood, 2012

aio‘ is currently on view at the Gallery as part of  Sculpture 2012.