The Valve series is a group of three major abstract steel sculptures, created while studying Sculpture at the National Art School. They function as metaphorical self portraits, using the motif of the valve and the pipe to represent various aspects of my life. Absent that explaination, they are intended to be beautiful objects in a formalist sense.
About: That. is a work created for the 2012 University of Western Sydney Sculpture Award & Exhibition, in which it was a finalist. It is constructed of 25mm plate steel, corroded steel pipe, and a large valve. Its dimensions are: 1.6m, 3.4m, 0.8m (h,w,d). The work has an aspect of time, in that the pipe is designed to corrode if left outdoors. Thinking about this work in a decadal timeframe, my intention was that this pipe would corrode, disintegrate, and then be replaced by another raw steel pipe, which would continue the process. The ultimate imagined version of this work’s existence would be for it to be centred in a circle of white gravel, with broken rusting fragments of previous generations of pipe below the current one, staining the gravel red at each end.
Experience: Viewing this work is highly dependent on moving around the piece. The pyramid base has a lightness and insubstantiality when viewed from the side, at which point the mass of the pipe dominates your perception of the work. As you move around to view it from either end, the negative space through the centre of the base shrinks before vanishing, and that feeling of mass shifts dramatically downwards. It’s an highly visceral experience that leaves you feeling like you might have heard the sort of sounds that occur whenever large objects move.
Longevity: The mild plate steel from which this is constructed should survive the elements for a considerable period of time. The black paint is a rust-proofing agent, and with reasonable maintenance, that aspect of the work should survive for as long as it is maintained. The valve is also coated with the same rust-proofing paint, and again, with reasonable maintenance could be expected to last more or less indefinitely. The pipe is in an advanced state of corrosion, and is quite fragile. If left outdoors, it will continue to corrode, though the lifespan would be dependent on local conditions. An option for truly long term survivability, would be to have the base and valve hot-dip galvanised, then repainted. The pipe could also be preserved with resin or wax treatments, although that would alter the appearance of the rust finish. Indoors, the work should survive as-is indefinitely.
About: This? was the first work created in the Valve project. It is constructed from 50mm diameter mild steel pipe, and a two inch gate valve. Its dimensions are (very) roughly 1.5m, 1.1m, 1.4m (h,w,d). The work is primarily gestural in nature, capturing a flow of silvery liquid interrogating and investigating that which constricts it.
Experience: Walking around this work reveals an ever-changing series of shapes – both the work itself, and the negative space it creates. Distance also plays a crucial role, sharing an interpersonal space with the work creates a very different sense of scale and proportion to viewing at a distance.
Longevity: The valve is raw, and will corrode if left in the elements, but it’s also very thick cast iron, so it has a long potential lifetime. It could be treated with wax or oil to extend its longevity indefinitely with maintenance, though that may darken the rust texture. The silver pipe has been professionally rustproofed with an industrial epoxy process, and is painted with automotive paint. Barring any significant damage to that paint and rustproofing coating, it should last indefinitely outdoors. Indoors, of course, it would likely have greater longevity than the building in which it’s kept.
About: There. was one of those happy occasions in sculpture, when simply playing with arrangements of objects creates something successful. It is made of raw salvaged mild steel, which has various marks from its previous life, curved mild steel pipe, and a three inch gauge gate valve. Its dimensions are approximately 1.7m, 1.2m, 1.3m (h,w,d). Its composition is geometric, with emphasis on right angles at the base transitioning through a big curve and terminating in multiple circles.
Experience: Stood up on its end, the curved pipe has the anthropomorphised aspect of a person bowing. It’s possible that the work could be considered contemplative, or solemn. The obvious bulk and weight of the valve on the end creates a moment of visual humour as it appears to be bending the steel pipe under its weight.
Longevity: There. is made out of raw mild steel, and will corrode if left out in the elements. There are options to improve its outdoor survivability, wax or oil treatments, however they will darken the bright rust patina to an almost black colour. Kept indoors, this work will have an almost indefinite lifespan.