SOUTH Gippsland artist Adrian Mauriks was involved in the site selection and orientation of one of his major, four-part sculptures as the striking new gateway to the Port of Sale.
Sadly, he passed away just three weeks before his work was installed.
Mauriks’ sculpture, valued at $120,000, was generously offered to the Gippsland Art Gallery as a donation in 2019. A memorial plaque will soon be installed alongside the sculpture, which is situated behind the Wellington Centre at the Port of Sale.
Titled Construct 2, the work was a finalist at the 2006 Helen Lempriere National Sculpture Award at Werribee Park.
Mauriks’ sculpture was inspired by the natural environment of Gippsland and explored the concept of the ‘eternal tree as a metaphor for the idea that we are nature and nature is us’, and seeks to express ‘an intimate landscape experience’.
Construct 2 comprises two large ‘doorway’ pieces, a towering tree, and a stylised figure.
The Boolarra South artist wrote the sculpture ‘attempts to consider the disparity between nature and civilisation’.
“The large gateway provides both entry and exit to the piece. The ‘tree’ shape is based on the leaf of an ancient and extinct Jurassic tree called ‘Williamsonia’. A feature of this genus is that it bore hermaphroditic flowers, referring to historic time as well as something less definable.”
Mauriks was one of Gippsland’s most significant sculptors. Born in the Netherlands in 1942, he migrated to Australia in 1957 and lectured in sculpture at the Gippsland School of Art in Churchill from 1978 to 1982, influencing many younger artists in the region. He taught and exhibited nationally and internationally over a long career and was awarded many prizes, including the VCA Art Prize and the Lorne Sculpture Prize.