I recently spent a weekend in Launceston with my sister who was here on holiday. Not that we needed an excuse to visit wineries, but the Artentwine sculpture exhibition was added incentive. The biennial competition started in 2014 and features contemporary sculptures by Australian and international artists, displayed at five wineries in the West Tamar. After driving up the East Tamar, we crossed the Batman Bridge and began our adventure at Goaty Hill. The three sculptures on display were set against the backdrop of beautiful vistas and vineyards. The bronze Seated Figure by Jason Farrow caught my eye and was still my favourite at the end of the day. I’m not going to include all the artist statements or this would be a very long post, but I found Jason’s summation quite moving; “Walking under the iconic coke sign of Kings Cross, Sydney, I noticed this guy, sitting there on the steps. Deep in thought, lost in anguish, you couldn’t really tell. Wherever he was, was a long way from here.”
Armed with two bottles of 2016 Goaty Hill Riesling, we moved on to Iron Pot Bay Vineyard. We only saw four of the five sculptures as they were positioned in rooms where people were eating and a little difficult to view. Simon Pankhurst’s, The Battle Between Needs and Wants, had been displayed upside down, not the best angle.
The man in blue, poised in the garden, sported an outfit knitted with baling twine. My sister and I had been at Deloraine Craft Fair the previous weekend where we had seen numerous knitters eagerly creating something with the blue baling twine. It seems artist, Grietje van Randen, has enlisted volunteers to help complete a double life size Blue Farmer to be sited on a local farm to raise awareness of those living with depression and as a reminder for us all to be Looking Out For Each Other.
We added a bottle of 2016 Pinot Grigio to our collection and drove the short distance to neighbouring Holm Oak Vineyard where a further eight sculptures awaited. The setting was magnificent, unfortunately Smultronstalle and Impression VI were presented back to front, a little disappointing for the artist I would imagine.
The competition was won by Wayne Hudson for Pledged which will become a one and a half metre diameter sculpture for the public. A light will be positioned below the ring and shine through the centre, I think it will be quite spectacular.
A bottle of Duffy 2018 Rosé accompanied us to the next location, Moores Hill Estate. Some of the twelve sculptures were difficult to photograph against the background of corrugated iron and I was disappointed to see Fate had been damaged – the boat should be suspended within the frame but the supporting wires had broken.
Ask and thou shalt receive by Al Roberts was my close second favourite, the man’s face had so much character. It is no wonder it won the People’s Choice award. The artist’s statement is worth sharing here; “ I wanted a turtle dove as an artistic reference for a potential sculpture. I spoke to a friend of mine that is a hunter and she agreed to acquire one for me on her next hunt. Shortly after our conversation my friend arrived home, and by strange twist of fate, she immediately heard a thud behind her on the glass door. She looked down on the ground outside to see a small turtle dove twitch and take its last breath. Feeling guilty, even though the bird died of natural causes, and unsure what to do now my ‘wish’ had been granted, I decided that I needed to make the most out of its life by immortalizing it as part of my sculpture. As with many things in nature and life, we have been given exactly what we need, but still have no idea how to make to the most of it.”
The views from Moores Hill were breathtaking, as was the 2016 Chardonnay and 2017 Riesling that I just couldn’t leave behind.
Our final venue for the day was Tamar Ridge Cellar Door, in an enviable position with magnificent panoramas of the Tamar River.
Ten sculptures were on display throughout the extensive premises, although we only found eight. We didn’t partake of tastings here, I will have to return on my next trip to Launceston.
For more insight into the sculptures, the artist statements can be found in the catalogue.