GRANT FLATHER is the curator of Wild Life, an extraordinary group exhibition at Stockyard Gallery in Foster.
Originally he organised to do a solo show but realised about 6 months ago that he wasn’t going to be able to pull that off.
He’s always wanted to help sculptors get their work out there and said that there’s not really a lot of opportunity for them in South Gippsland.
He was working on this series of Australian animals and I thought “why don’t we do that as a theme?”
The exhibition features the work of twelve artists including Bob Hickman from Korumburra who is an art teacher as well as a sculptor.
According to Grant he can do just about anything and is a really good painter.
A stunning pelican sits on what looks like a pylon and would look great in anyone’s home or in a collection.
His piece King Cocky has wine barrel bands for the wings and Grant just loves it. “It has so much movement and attitude,” he said.
“Darren Gilbert is the only one who is not a local,” says Grant. “He is very versatile as well and does beautiful paintings on metal. I contacted him to see if he would be interested and thankfully he was.”
Sue Gilford’s piece ‘Platypus Agnes River’ took her weeks to complete. It is pyrography on fabriano paper. Sue is a VCA trained artist who is inspired by nature.
Her unique piece ‘Garden Edging’ is nothing short of spectacular.
Grant reckons you can see her love for the animals in every animal she makes.
David Enbon from Korumburra is just starting out but after only a year of woodcarving his animals are elegant and wonderful.
“He’s got this incredible talent,” said Grant. “My favourite piece of his is the parrot. It’s just perfect. He’s really nailed the expression on the face.
It’s ironbark, which is not an easy wood to carve. One off, hand made has real value.”
Grant’s own large wire sculpture called ‘Emu’ is the first time he has used barbed wire.
“It’s got memory as it comes off the roll and it really doesn’t want to behave.”
Peter Dailey, a Foster local, works exclusively in steel. It is very difficult to work with.
“Have you ever seen anything like this? The cormorant has swallowed the fish,” said Grant.
Amanda Diamond has done a whole wall of birds’ heads.
She has an amazing CV and does all sorts of major festivals with art direction and now she’s sticking with the drawings, which Grant loves because they have so much personality.
Andy McPherson’s magnificent piece is a family of swans carved out of blackwood.
“I hate to think how many hours he spent labouring over that,” Grant said.
He works exclusively with reclaimed materials and works out of his shop, Ride the Wild Goat, in Fish Creek.
One of Grant’s most favourite pieces in the show is Anne Parry’s Echidnascape, an atmospheric and powerful piece that Grant wants to buy.
Cathy Wheeler’s Lyrebird and Flannel Flowers is lit from within so looks wonderful at night as well as during the day.
There are also artworks by Pauline John and Janie Frith.
Grant was wrapped that Pauline was able to be part of it.
“She has such sensitivity and is technically brilliant,” he said.
“Janie is also an incredibly talented artist and a real professional whom I admire greatly.
She has perfectly captured one of my favourite birds, the ibis.”
Wild Life exhibition is on at Stockyard Gallery, Foster, Victoria from September 14 to October 9. Open daily 10am – 4pm.