Sculpture in the Gardens is now open

Boffa Miskell continues its association with the Auckland Botanical Gardens’ exhibition ‘Sculpture in the Gardens’, which opened for the 2017/18 season in November.

The biennial Sculpture in the Gardens event has grown in size and popularity since the inaugural exhibition of 2007 – 2008. Hundreds of thousands of visitors travel to Manurewa, south of Auckland, each year to view the permanent collection and the temporary works.

Rachel de Lambert joined the curatorial team for the 2011 – 2012 event, and has remained on the committee. This year, the team – which also includes Linda Tyler and Terry Urbahn – selected twenty works by New Zealand artists. An indoor exhibition, curated by sculptor Richard Mathieson, runs concurrently in the Huakaiwaka Visitor Centre.

For the participating artists, the event’s three-month time frame – much longer than typical outdoor exhibitions – offers the opportunity for a larger number of people to view their works. But there are challenges, too.

“Because the exhibition runs in the Botanic Gardens for three months, a key consideration is the ability of the work to withstand the elements and rigours of a public park location for this length of time,” Rachel explained. “Increasingly, Health and Safety considerations also come into play. This year the show has been supported by four great structural engineering practices who also gave their time pro bono for the show – Aireys, Envivo, Beca and Peter Boardman.”

Among this year’s collection, Cambodian-born artist Lang Ea’s Pop! Boom! Bang! is a gigantic red pompom placed in the middle of an open space, and Lucy Bucknall’s Howling Together is an oversized bronze dog, covered in splashes of bright paint.

Lucy Bucknall won the McConnell Family Supreme Award in 2011-2012 for her Big Mansculpture. This year’s winner is Louise Purvis, for Gravid.

Louise collaborated with Boffa Miskell on a massive work called Estuarine as part of the Launch Road project at Hobsonville PointEstuarine was a series of long, tubular steel baskets, filled with red scoria, that wound over and on a retaining wall.

Gravid is also part of Louise’s “Cage Series” but in this work long tubes of steel baskets are filled with split logs, and form separate elements that wind along, and rise above, the ground.

“It’s one of my favourites, and well-deserving of this year’s award,” says Rachel.

Sculpture in the Garden is open from 8am till 4:30 weekdays, and 8am till 5pm weekends. The event closes 25 February 2018.

4 December 2017