BARTLETT, Geoffrey, 1952
tin and copper-plated lead
260.0 cm x 90.0 cm x 60.0 cm
I have been drawn to the use of lead since 1996. Lead is an under-rated metal whose highly malleable properties make it suited to the expression of subtle gradations of shape. The sculptural use of this material is uncommon in Australia and in my case it has come about progressively through steel, bronze, aluminium and copper to the use of this more yielding substance.
The lead in this work is tin and copper-plated to highlight its gentle gradations. The forms of my most recent large work Nautilus reflect their own inner sub-structure. The lines of brads and joins do not arise solely from its construction but link directly to its hidden armature and the skeletal forms beneath its skin. Despite its weight I have attempted to give the impression that the sculpture is light and that the lead was casually thrown onto its curved surfaces.
Movement and latent energy have remained central concerns in my work for close to three decades. Therefore, my most recent sculpture suggests this latent energy by implication and is constructed to give the sense that it was caught in transit from one state of movement to another; as though it could drift with the wind as a nautilus shell does across the ocean.
The two large separate forms meet midway at a junction, which acts as an intermediary union between its distinctly unlike shapes. The masses of the sculpture impinge upon its central junction in ways which emphasise their precarious link. The circular movement and fragility of the balance of these two suggestive forms is both delicate and tense.
The uppermost forms of the sculpture are drawn back with the latent energy of a bow and its open billowing forms suggest its potential for movement or displacement.
Like my other works, Nautilus draws strength from its points of contact, since the connections between the forms are as significant and interesting as the forms themselves. I have always enjoyed this sort of flirtation with precariousness.
Geoffrey Bartlett, October 2001
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