LOCAL sculptor Walter Brecely has been nominated for one of Australia’s top sculpture honours, the Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize.
Now in its 13th year, the prize attracts a large range of professional and emerging sculptors from around the world, with over 500 entries submitted this year alone.
Requirements for the prize state that the artist must present an original, free-standing sculpture of up to 80cm in any dimension, with the final works to be put on display in an exhibition at the Woollahra Council Chambers from October 26 to November 10, with the prize to be announced on October 25.
The prize is $13,000, $10,000 of which goes towards the prize itself, $2000 for a Special Commendation, and $1,000 towards the Viewer’s Choice.
Mr Brecely has created a sculpture entitled ‘The Walkers’, using recycled cutlery, stainless steel, sterling silver and also resin.
He used the bases of nine silver spoons and the legs of nine forks and attached them with resin. The sculpture was nominated for the prize by this year’s guest judges, Nick Mitzevich, Director of the Art Gallery of South Australia, and Professor Ian Howard from the College of Fine Arts at the University of New South Wales (UNSW).
Mr Brecely was also a finalist in the Deakin University Contemporary Small Sculpture Prize in 2012, and had some of his works featured in the Artecycle exhibition based at the Walter Burley Griffin Incinerator Gallery in the Melbourne suburb of Moonee Valley.
His works have featured in such exhibitions as the Hong Kong Biennale (2005) and he has also had a number of solo exhibitions at the Goulburn Regional Art Gallery, Sydney College of Arts and the Illawarra Institute of TAFE in Wollongong.
“I started getting into art when I did an Arts and Media course through Goulburn TAFE back in 1993,” Mr Brecely said.
“If it wasn’t for this stepping stone, I wouldn’t have gone on to do sculpture at university.
There were some really good quality art teachers there who were able to nurture my ability and impart their wisdom and practical skills to show me how to approach art.”
From Goulburn TAFE, Mr Brecely went on to study a Bachelor of Visual Arts at Sydney College of the Arts in 1997, and then completed his degree achieving a Bachelor of Creative Arts in 2000 majoring in sculpture at the University of Wollongong. He has also completed courses in Advanced Techniques in Engraving and Stone Setting with master jeweler Rex Steele- Merten and also in Foundry Metal Casting at the Illawarra Institute of Technology (Wollongong Campus).
“I mainly use secondhand materials from op shops and secondhand shops to create my artworks, and try to capture the shape, weight and balance of a particular object,” Walter said.
“I also get my ideas from my other techniques I use including jewellery making, wood carving, silversmithing, etc.
“Removing the object from what it originally was therefore makes it become more intriguing, and if you take the object out of context, it can become something completely new.
“After all, everything is a tool, and can be adapted, and it makes you think ‘what else could this be used for?” Mr Brecely uses his house in Eastgrove as his ‘studio’, for example using his kitchen as the silversmithing area, his dining room for soldering, and even lets his students use the house and garden to create their artworks in a peaceful and homely environment.
“I’m constantly learning more and more new skills, and I also pass these skills on to my students,” he said.
“There’s no use holding back valuable information to provide these artists with their next great idea.”
He also runs jewellery and silversmithing workshops from his home, where techniques such as sawing, riveting, silver soldering, glass carving and stone setting can be learnt.
Mr Brecely is also involved in the Black Sheep Artists group, who are based in Goulburn, Crookwell and also now the Blue Mountains. He along with other local artists such as Mandy McDonald will be hosting an exhibition at the GRAG on October 3, starting at 6pm.
To join his mailing list for the workshops call him on 0407 999 258, or email him at wbrecely@ gmail.com.
And to take a look at some of Walter’s artworks or to find out more about him, you can visit walterbrecely.wordpress.com, or visit his Facebook page ‘Brecely Studios’.