For its 18th year, the highly acclaimed cultural festival, Sculpture in the Vineyards – Wollombi Valley Sculpture Festival, is coming back to the Hunter Valley’s charming, historic village of Wollombi from 17 October to 1 November.
With sculptures ranging from sophisticated, modernist artworks set against a backdrop of hillsides and valleys, to whimsical and often ephemeral works designed explicitly for the vineyards, the exhibition celebrates contemporary sculpture in all its forms.
Stella Downer, the renowned Sydney art dealer, with the collaboration of four vineyards, was instrumental in bringing the exhibition to Wollombi in 2002. From small beginnings, the show is now an institution on the annual arts calendar, the longest running regional outdoor sculpture exhibition in Australia and a million-dollar affair which attracts thousands of visitors across the 16 days.
Festival Director, Susan Leith-Miller says she is thrilled with the number and quality of 2020's entries.
“This year, 166 works from 103 sculptors have been selected for the exhibition from the 300 national, and international submissions received,” she said.
This year’s selection includes seven previous Sculpture by the Sea major prize winners; Peter Lundberg, Paul Selwood, Jorg Plickat, Michael le Grand, Stephen King, Libby Bloxham and Harrie Fasher. Other highly respected artists include Stephen Coburn, Ron Robertson-Swann, Ayako Saito, Peter Tilley, Louis Pratt, Fiona Kemp, Hui Selwood, James McCallum and Robert Barnstone who won the major prize in 2019. Emerging artists, Amanda Lockton and Daniel Schwartz have also been selected again this year.
And the exhibition isn’t the only aspect that has grown, with this year’s prize money comprising a $20,000 First Prize, a $6,000 Indoor Small Prize, a $5,000 Highly Commended Prize and a $1,000 prize for the best work by a local sculptor. All prizes are non-acquistional.
With over 50 years of combined experience, Art Critic and Lecturer John McDonald will be joined by Sarah Johnson, Curator at Newcastle Art Gallery, to judge this year’s Sculpture Festival.
The spectacular sculptures are located at Undercliff Wines, Stonehurst Wines at Cedar Creek, Great Northern Trading Post (GNTP) at Laguna and in the village of Wollombi itself. The selected works will be on display and for sale in five indoor galleries and public spaces; the Old Fireshed Gallery, Blender Gallery, Wollombi Community Hall, GNTP and The Old Dance Hall which is also the Visitors Information Centre.
The exhibition opens daily from 10am to 4pm. All venues will operate under COVID-SAFE regulations. All works are available for purchase. A 2-hour tour will run each day at 10am from the Tennis Club (Opposite St Johns Church). The cost is $10 pp with children under 12 free. Entry to the Wollombi Valley Sculpture Festival is free.
Visit www.sculptureinthevineyards.com.au for more information.
Images Top: Stephen Coburn - Flow
Middle: Harrie Fasher - Suspension
Below: Karl Meyer - Life Support