Bridestowe Estate was packed full of visitors on Thursday, but it wasn’t to see their renowned lavender.
The winner of the North East Tasmania Bakhap Award for Sculpture was announced after much deliberation from judges, with sculptor Paul Murphy’s piece coming first.
Judges of the award were Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery director Janet Carding, senior lecture at the University of Tasmania’s College of the Arts Malcom Bywaters, sculptor David Hamilton, and Bridestowe Estate director Robert Ravens.
Ms Carding said the judges felt the prize was “really gathering pace”.
“There was an increase of entries this year, and overall they were of a higher quality,” she said.
“It’s really good to see that upward trajectory.
“We asked Robert [Ravens] if he would consider a highly recommended as well as a winner, because there were two works that were of particularly high quality. So as a one-off, we had a highly recommended which was by Gene McLaren.”
Ms Carding said Mr McLaren’s work was called Bakhap’s Needle.
“We thought that was a very interesting take on a traditional obelisk that had been chunked up and deconstructed,” she said.
“It was made out of contrasting materials. The cut edges would be stainless steel but the overall outside would be corten, and we thought that was a very interesting combination of things that would look interesting in a landscape such as this.”
Mr Murphy’s winning piece was called Impression V.
It felt like it could be a piece of rock, or it could be from the soil, or it could even be from a piece of machinery here at the farm, like a tyre-track or an imprint.Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery director Janet Carding
“It’s just over two-metres tall. The finished work will be an aluminium piece,” Ms Carding said.
“Because he’s made it using a process where he will cut pieces out out the form and then make an overall cast of it, you’ve got that sense of a very individual piece of work, pieced by a human hand.
“What we liked was the monumental scale [of the piece], but at the same time the very human touch.
“It felt like it could be a piece of rock, or it could be from the soil, or it could even be from a piece of machinery here at the farm, like a tyre-track or an imprint.”
Dr Malcolm Bywaters said they had a “good discussion” to choose a winner.
“We liked the idea that people would be drawn to [Impression V], and that they would engage with the sculpture,” he said.
Though unable to attend the announcement, Mr Murphy said he was “very humbled” to receive the award.
He thanked the panel for selecting him, and for giving him the opportunity to make the full-scale version of his piece.
Dr Hamilton said the competition was “a fine thought” for the region’s sculptors.
“Robert Ravens’ contribution, and Bridestowe’s contribution, to starting a sculpture award in the north of the state – it’s a very bold thing to do,” Dr Hamilton said.