‘Forgotten’ material forms winning piece

TALENTED Berry artist Michael Purdy has walked away a winner at this year’s UrbanGrowth NSW Acquisitive Sculpture Awards.

Run by the University of Western Sydney, the outdoor sculpture display featured 20 finalists’ major works.

Mr Purdy said he was ecstatic his sandstone sculpture, which took five months to make, was popular with the judges.

“The style was a bit of a change from what I traditionally do for sculptures,” he said.

“It reflects relaxation … hence the name Oneness.

“I came up with the idea when I was camping and I started drawing on river pebbles. It’s also based on the balance of positive and negative space.”

Mr Purdy said the sculpture also reflected the paradox of two opposites uniting.

“The prizes tend to go to steel sculptures, so I would like to thank the judges for having faith in sandstone as an urban public art material,” he said.

“Sandstone is a forgotten material for public art.

“It’s a beautiful natural material.”

The Oneness sculpture has been permanently installed at the university campus in Campbelltown along with the 2012 winning sculpture, New Arrivals by Louisa Dawson.

“I’m very happy for it to be there,” Mr Purdy said.

“It’s great to see that there is a greater interest in sculptures in Australia now and that we are creating a market for them where there wasn’t one before.”

Mr Purdy said he was working on a few more sculptures and hoped to enter the large Sydney sculpture event, Sculptures By The Sea.

UWS curator Monica McMahon said it was the exhibition’s 10th anniversary and the works showcased artists’ creativity.  

“The increased reputation of the UWS prize has seen many artists from Australia-wide create impressive architectural works, with the specific motivation of complimenting the university landscape,” Ms McMahon said.

“Artworks set in nature differ from those set in a gallery, because the location itself provides a context, and in many cases is an extension of the artwork.” 

There were four awards up for grabs this year including a prize valued at up to $30,000, UrbanGrowth People’s Choice Award and the Janice Reid Emerging Artist Award, both valued at $5000.

Another local artist, Elyssa Sykes-Smith, was also a finalist in the awards.

WINNER: Berry artist Michael Purdy is proud to have won the 2014 University of Western Sydney’s UrbanGrowth NSW Acquisitive Sculpture Award with his sandstone piece Oneness. Photo: UNIVERSITY OF WESTERN SYDNEY

WINNER: Berry artist Michael Purdy is proud to have won the 2014 University of Western Sydney’s UrbanGrowth NSW Acquisitive Sculpture Award with his sandstone piece Oneness. Photo: UNIVERSITY OF WESTERN SYDNEY

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