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Aerial view of the three geoglyphs created by Andrew Rogers in Arava Desert, Israel
BREACHING THE BOUNDARIES
When Australian sculptor Andrew Rogers put his figurative
style behind him and accepted abstraction as his means of
communication, the transformation resulted in a new vocabulary
that embraced geoglyphic forms. Profile by Roger Taylor.

In 1998, Australian sculptor, Andrew Rogers, told the
Second Annual State of the World Forum Awards in
San Francisco that, ‘to express oneself is a timeless need
– sculpture is a manifestation of this need. This need is
always relevant: and how better to express our dreams
and aspirations and the spirit of humanity – sculpture does
mirror our society.’ In his address, entitled The Passion
of Sculpting
, Rogers told the 800-strong forum that being
a sculptor was for him a personal journey. ‘The journey
necessary to create sculpture is just as important and
meaningful as the final form and, yes, hopefully people
will see what we are trying to express.’
Andrew Rogers commenced on his artistic journey just
over 30 years ago, as a painter. But in the late 1980s, after
numerous visits to the Musee Rodin in Paris, he decided
to switch from painting to sculpture. Yet, subconsciously,
as he noted in his speech, the origins of his decision lay
in a much earlier experience of Rodin’s art: the “Rodin
and His Contemporaries” exhibition which he had seen
at the National Gallery of Victoria in 1967. ‘Sculpture is
an expression of the heart, not just the application of a
skill. With sculpture we learn to perceive, to recognise
differences, to clarify, to make a decision, and eventually
one can see what it is that matters to create a form. For
me, the works in the 1967 exhibition captured the essence
of mankind simply through the gesture of an individual.’

The earliest sculptures by Rogers were representations
of the human hand, an image which Rodin himself had
fashioned so perspicuously. So it was fitting that five of
Rogers’ edition of his bronze sculpture of a clenched fist,
Critical Power (1993) were presented to the forum’s award
winners, including Richard Butler, then executive chair-
man of the United Nations Special Commission on Iraq
and now Governor of Tasmania, and Vincente Fox, who
was elected President of Mexico shortly afterwards. ‘It is
my hope that these wonderful and worthy recipients
look at their sculpture and remember their magnificent
achievements and the critical difference they have made
to our world, which has become a better place in which
to live,’ Rogers stated at the time.
It is this solemn philosophy that seems to have informed
the uniqueness of Rogers’ oeuvre. By 1993, when Critical
Power
was first cast, he had crystallised a style that incor-
porated realism, symbolism, and surrealism. It was at this
time, too, that he began to abstract the human figure,
hollowing out a number of his male and female forms. He
developed a technique of slashing the forms with a series
of parallel incisions to reveal a figure’s interior. Some of
these forms were shown in his 1993 exhibition “Mankind
in the Gesture of an Individual” (after Rodin), at Mel-
bourne’s Meridian Gallery, which stood out as testament
to his achievement in working in the figurative tradition.

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