Another artist whose foray into the third dimension has been recently profiled in an exhibition is Rick Amor, though his engagement with sculpture is more consistent rather than Firth-Smith’s episodic approach.
The exhibition at the McClelland Gallery concentrates on this well known, yet perhaps little examined aspect of the artist’s oeuvre. His sculpture is very much an extension of his paintings, and Amor continues his exploration of landscape and the human condition in his three-dimensional works.
Therefore, we see the proliferation of dark tree trunks, which are of pivotal compositional importance in his landscape paintings; shadowy figure of a running man, which makes a fleeting but memorable appearance in his paintings and drawings; and the figure of a stocky businessman, whose pensive tilt of the head and heavy sloping shoulders seemed to be weighed down by the problems of the entire world as well as by his own psychological dilemmas. The configuration of objects within the exhibition space likewise recreates the motives and narratives of his paintings.
There are also various representations of dogs, which seem to have sprung forth directly from the canvasses, where they appear standing, sleeping, or chasing their tails. Amor’s canine gallery is supplemented by the artist’s exploration of the metamorphosis between man and dog, which emphatically recalls ancient Egyptian artefacts.
The sculptures are executed in black patinated bronze from clay or alabaster moulds. The artist’s finger marks, as he pushed and shaped the malleable medium, have been preserved in the casts. In this sense, the ghost of Auguste Rodin haunts this gallery, though some of his human and canine figures approach the attenuated silhouettes of Alberto Giacometti.
The sculptures are displayed in a darkened room, setting the pensive, meditative mood for the exhibition, which also includes two giant drawings on the scale one normally would not see at Melbourne’s Niagara Galleries. The Dog and The Runner, both of 1990, correspond semantically to the sculpted three-dimensional figures in the exhibition. They are drawn in charcoal with the enviable sense of verve, energy, and artistic confidence, representing Amor as the undoubted master of the black and white medium.
[© Eugene Barilo v. Reisberg 2010. This article is copyright, but the full or partial use is WELCOME with the full and proper acknowledgment]