Bell Bay Aluminiumís gift to UTAS
Large pipes sculpture officially unveiled at Inveresk
Bell Bay Aluminium has donated a sculpture by one of Australia’s iconic contemporary 20th century sculptors to the University of Tasmania, installed at the School of Visual and Performing Arts at Inveresk.
The work is by John Davis, who by the time of his death in 1999, is said by the National Gallery of Victoria to have established a critically acclaimed reputation as an influential sculptor and installation artist.
Born in Ballarat, Davis created his large pipes piece, Untitled, as an entry in the Comalco Invitation award for sculpture in aluminium; it won, and was commissioned for the foyer of the Hydro Electric Corporation in Hobart in 1971.
Presenting the sculpture to UTAS Provost Professor David Rich and head of the SVPA Professor Marie Sierra, the Bell Bay Aluminium’s general manager (operations) Ray Mostogl said his company is a major contributor to the social, cultural and economic development of Tasmania and the northern region.
“In recent years we have formed a mutually beneficial relationship with the University of Tasmania which has included scholarships, student internships and collaborative research opportunities,” he said.
“The Inveresk precinct has been developed from an abandoned, run-down industrial site into what is fast gaining recognition as a world-class facility for the community and visitors to our region to enjoy. We believe that the work we are gifting today will add to that recognition, attract visitors to our city and further build the collection of importantly accessible art in Northern Tasmania and the state.”
Professor Rich thanked Mr Mostogl for the gift of work from such a prestigious artist.
“We very much appreciate the gift of such a magnificent artwork,” he said. “This is a very large piece needing a setting of sizeable dimensions.
“UTAS is delighted and proud to house it in the School of Visual and Performing Arts where it will be an important addition to the university’s cultural collections. The fact that John Davis represented Australia in the Venice Biennale in 1978 and that many of his later works reveal his sensitive and profound connection to the natural world will be significant to UTAS students spending time in this building,” he said.
John Davis’ adult children Penelope and Martin attended the presentation ceremony from inter-state.
Penelope said: “This donation is generous, considered and apt in so many ways and we know our father would have been absolutely chuffed.
“Winning the Comalco Prize in 1970 allowed our family to travel, in turn making a huge and important transition for John as an artist.
“My father also had a long and significant career teaching in art schools, influencing many students who have gone on to become established artists themselves.
“He would have been thrilled that his work has found a home in such a well-regarded art school, where future generations of art students will find inspiration in his work.”