Phillip Piperides

The Artist's Model

November 2 to November 16 2013

There is a timeless serenity to the bronzes Phillip Piperides creates. Light gently caresses rounded volumes and lustrous, burnished surfaces. A union of ideal and reality, the figures convey a profoundly Classical air. Beyond the anatomical perfection and modulated play of light, the works engage the viewer at a deeper, more contemplative level.

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 is also searching for a nuance - a special something that will evoke the essence of his subject. Understanding the unclothed figure as a "landscape" of soft undulations, he selects a personally appealing pose and directly renders it in clay. This tactile medium provides one of the most satisfying ways of ‘thinking' in three dimensions.

When content that the preliminary machette is aesthetically fulfilling, Piperides enlarges it to life size by modelling clay over a steel armature. A cast is then made into which is poured molten bronze. Once cool, the cast is dismantled and after long hours of chipping away dross and polishing, a patination is applied. Bronze has beautiful colour characteristics. It can be burnished to a deep lustrous brown, gold or greenish black. As in various ancient creation myths, Piperides fashions the human form from clay and with alchemy-like precision and patience, transmutes an elemental substance into the embodiment of physical grace and beauty.

Cyprus-born Piperides migrated with his family to Australia in 1967. His aptitude for realising three-dimensional form was evident from an early age when he experienced the tactile properties of clay in his father's commercial pottery. Piperides' innate gift for modelling this medium inevitably developed into a career of producing extraordinary bronzes at his Perides Art Foundry in Brisbane. During the 80's Piperides travelled to Greece and Italy to investigate the casting techniques of the great masters. He brought back crucial knowledge to Australia, 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; the 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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