About gregbanfield

Enjoying the art of sculpting, mostly using timber, copper and mild steel. Add this to cycling and tennis, makes for a good life in a great part of Australia.

Sculpture By The Bay 2016

The crowd of over 6000 people were in concert when they described this year’s exhibition as the best in the life of the event …. a stunning display of works, 33 in total. And to have 16 of the works sell is fantastic for the artists and the public.

This a selection of the works with my interpretation of their story.


This is my entry into SBB – Roll out the Barrel.  A song that I remember my father and many others bursting out with when he tried his hands on the piano, something he had a natural gift at.  The negative space signifies the age of the song, something in the past, …. tends to enable the viewer to imagine, dream, how was it all then.  Jarrah and copper blend well together.  I like to do the exaggerated muscle definition on figures.  Enjoyed doing this piece.



Only the Ocean (Dale Bentley – Charlie Chop). Inspired by Mick Fanning’s battle with the shark.  The scale is spot on, and the posture imposing and positive.  I love the position in the landscape and the way the light bounces through the torso.  The construction looks light but strong and balanced.  Excellent piece that should grace a point overlooking a surf break.


Two pieces … Dingo by the Bay and Free.Dingo is by Chris Latham is a very effective statement that dingos used to wander these parts of the south-west and now have been forced into the arid areas by urbanisation etc.  The dingo has arid colours on the inland side and ocean colours the other.  I can envisage it in a sculpture park.  Free (Christian Farrell) on the ocean is what people envisage happening on holidays in places as Dunsborough …. relaxing, blissful, getting away, lost.


Tidal Totems (Merle Davis) – a colourful, interactive (Jenny Clark and Chris Latham), engaging work made from abandoned synthetic fishing rope, nets, plastics and floats salvaged from the ocean.   Left in the ocean it tangles with the environment to cause death and disaster.


A Succulent Piece of Fish (Scott Michell) – a joyful play on words, and a magnificent garden piece.  I know it is now positioned in a front garden at Yallingup and will continue to grow in itself and on the owners.  A lovely ornament.


Alma (Deborah Campbell).  A skirt made from pressed tin is very effective to tell the story of pioneer women, and a fabulous way of recycling what was someones ceiling or wall.  From all directions this piece has shape and style.


Woven Reflections (Emma Headley).  Looking initially at this piece you don’t see that the main component is aluminium soft drink cans cut into strips.  The colours achieved and the reflection on the mirror, plus the square sections of aviary wire, has the mind conjuring up a range of images from freeways to high rise metropolis.  I’m a fan!


Return to Gaia (Daniel Fisher).  Evokes a lot of emotions …. Avatar, searching for a life, treading carefully, despair, reaching out.  I can imagine this was a very emotional piece to make.  The spoons are very effective as leaves.

Cocoon (Sue Smorthwaite), felted wool.  It would be fascinating to put this work into a public art environment to see how nature would interact with it  ….. and how it would interact with nature, would it keep it’s colour, shape?  A medium not often considered for public art, but perhaps we should!

Bush Buddies go to the Beach (Lily Mercer), stoneware ceramics.  This is Edwina the emu, a joyful interacting work that can go indoors or in the garden.  Once you meet Lily one realises where the character of her pieces come from, bubbly, vivacious, smiling, out there.

These are but a few of the works that were exhibited at this years Sculpture By The Bay, Dunsborough, Western Australia, Australia.  For all photos of the exhibits look at facebook Sculpture by the Bay.





Frackman The Movie – Must see!

Premiere in Western Australia of “Frackman The Movie” at Cape Mentelle, Margaret River, Western Australia

Last night I watched the movie “Frackman The Movie” (about Coal Seam Gas extraction) and was moved by the stupidity of mankind to undertake practices that put at grave risk two of our natural essential ingredients to healthy living – water and soil; let alone the other effects of peoples’ anxiety, resultant health issues, clean air and destroyed landscape, etc.

The message was not a surprise as I have seen documentation on the horrific outcomes of Coal Seam Gas extraction and Fracking in the USA.  As one of the wealthier countries on the planet, one would think our State governments could learn from the USA experience and put long term viability and health in front of short term political announcements and balance sheets.

I have never passed on a request to support a cause, however I am breaking this self rule and asking you to at least google “Frackman The Movie” and watch the brief trailer, decide on your position and possibly support the petition to Stop CSG mining and the method of Fracking.

Please see below email for a link to “Lockthegate”.

At Cape Mentelle they also showed a 5-10 min documentary of the land and unique waterways that are in the firing line of CSG in Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Australia.  At the time of production over 90% of The Northern Territory is earmarked for gas production using this method.  Arnhem Land is pristine untouched landscape & the risk of disaster is too great to have this proceed.

My research shows that governments and universities are doing studies to assess the impact of this form of mining on the planet and it’s inhabitants.  These sites mentioned below all indicate government and industry WILL ….. assess, monitor, etc.  That is credible, but wouldn’t it be better management of both to finish the research before action is allowed?  After all, we only have one planet and one life to live.

http://www.nicnas.gov.au/communications/issues/fracking-hydraulic-fracturing-coal-seam-gas-extraction/information-sheet   (government watchdog)

http://theconversation.com/explainer-coal-seam-gas-shale-gas-and-fracking-in-australia-2585;  (out of date, but highlights the rush to production before adequate assessment of outcomes)


From: Lock the Gate Alliance [mailto:info@lockthegate.org.au] Sent: Sunday, 29 March 2015 10:57 PM To: Greg Banfield Subject: Thank you for taking a stand

Greg — Thank you for taking the pledge to protect our land, water and future from inappropriate mining. Will you forward this email to your friends and family so that they have the opportunity to join you in taking our pledge? Your friends can sign on to the pledge here: http://www.lockthegate.org.au/pledge?recruiter_id=95952

Sculpture By The Bay 2015 – messages

The sixth Sculpture By The Bay (SBB) beat all expectations, certainly in terms of quality, visitation and sales, but also the impact and depth of message. JSP-SBTB2015-96-4   As an example, Tony Davis exhibited 303 Poppies.  He was inspired by a horse he saw in a field of poppies in Western France.  It looked so much like photos he had seen of Australia’s Whalers.  The message ….. could this have been a descendant of the 120,000 Aussie horses sent overseas in the 1st World War, never to return?  It is a wonderful piece of work that reminds us of so many stories around that era.

To give a little background to SBB, Nita Pratt and The Dunsborough Progress Association initiated this event, to be held annually during the Labor Day long weekend (usually in March), to promote Public Art and encourage creativity within the local community.  This year there were 31 exhibitors of which more than 50% were from the Busselton shire.  This year over 2500 people voted in The People’s Choice award.  This possibly means that over 4000 people viewed the exhibition.  At least 18 of the works will installed in different places throughout the State.

These photos are a few of the 31.  Photographer for SBB, Jenny Stukely, has taken these photos.  The words around them are my interpretation.JSP-SBTB2015-96-2  Industrial Planet, by Justin Webb, is built from used (long ago) agricultural parts, combined into a ball that expresses the interconnectedness of all that in agriculture.  I can see parts in there that remind me of a past occupation, names and stamps on steel that are still current but are found on new technology, spanners that no longer exist and pieces that have become redundant.  If this was in my garden I could stand looking at it for hours seeing old stories.  in this photo Jenny has captured 3 people on SUPs doing yoga, a wonderful combination of old stories and tranquillity.

JSP-SBTB2015-96-5 DSC_0002 OverPowered, by mois, is all about evolution of the environment and the belief we need to maintain its health at least at the current level.  I found this timber slab from a tree that had fallen over in a storm.  It was an old tree, possibly about to stop living anyway, but it had produced flowers and seed the year before it had blown over.  Since the storm new trees had sprouted from the seed, then a tractor came in and cleared all of the area.  That piece of the environment had not been allowed to evolve.  So, this piece became my monument to that piece of the environment.  The ‘hands touching’ is the environment reaching out through the many irregular barriers (re the beaten copper hoops) to access and nurture the fruit that it has produced.  But the connection to the rulers to allow the continuity of the environment is withering (the top arm is becoming disconnected) – so how long will the cherries exist?  how long will the environment continue to give fruit and maintain a level of health if the rulers (government and religions) don’t have an ongoing unconditional unanimous commitment?

JSP-SBTB2015-96 Nuts about You, by Voytek Kozlowski, is a story about Dunsborough.  The red-tailed black cockatoo continually chatter and eat the honky nuts in the marri trees, drop them on houses with a clang-clang, on the roads and back into the forest.  They are a beautiful bird, noisy in the air and joyful in their conversation in the trees.   Good colours, style, lines and a solid resilient work, this piece has been awarded The Dianne Laurance Wine Award for best sculpture at the exhibition.

The final piece I am writing about is Whine & Dine, by James Horsely.JSP-SBTB2015-96-7 JSP-SBTB2015-96-9 Once again, great photos Jen!  James work is a joyful piece of the darker side of nature, the cut throat way that ocean life is … ‘winner take all’ … the Pelican that has the spoils of the ocean in the mouth, the seagulls waiting for the spoils, and the crab the ‘bottom feeder’.  Colourful and natural, it reminds me of the stories that Josh Whiteland from Koomal Dreaming tells about the bay, the pelicans, the old fish traps and how it all existed before colonial takeover.  The pelican’s pose is ‘classic pelican’, beak angled up like it’s trying to swallow the last morsel, but in a superior jocular way.  The seagull on the post has that stretched forward stance squeaking out ‘give me some’, and the other just ready to pounce.  This work has been acquired by The City of Busselton to be placed within the Dunsborough community for their enjoyment.

Hopefully I get to write more about the SBB 2015, it was a lot of fun.  Also heading to Sculpture By The Sea in the next few days with Jen (so hopefully can steal some more great photos) and write my impressions on that.  Till then, happy times, Greg

Sonthofen – love and witches

 15 – 18th May 2014 ….. To get there from our start point, Plzen, a scenic train trip through Cheb, Nurnberg, Buchloe and Kempten … attractive towns and cities, but none that quite matched the beauty and friendliness of our destination, Sonthofen, with Emilly as our wonderful host. We could sense as soon as we met –  Love is in the Air.DSCN2645  Em met us at the station, tears streamed after long hugs (this is Em with Jenny, not Jack); it was really nice to see her after some years ago when she stayed with us in Oz.  And yes – a man Jack (Yurgen) has entered her life.

Sonthofen is beautiful, at the foot of the Alps not far from Austria, Bavarian as Bavaria can be, icey streams, cobbled walkways through the town, scrumptious markets (this is Jack & I at the strawberry stall – you wouldn’t have guessed this would you?)DSCN2706and picturebook mountainous landscape.  Add this to a modern town with rich cultural and strong economic foundations, it was an unforgetable visit.

The town has great shopping for shoes and sports apparel.  We were a tad short of both so it was timely.  The guys at the bike shop were also most helpful, providing the best cycles we managed to get in 7 weeks of many hirings.

Amongst the many unique festivals one is the Egga-Play.  Culturally illustrating the importance of agriculture, it symbolizes the struggle of the people with the elements of nature. The actors all have large carved wooden masks and figures represent the following: farmer and his wife, son, daughter, servant, maid, horse, cow,  cat, dog, pig, rooster and billy goat. IMG_2322The game starts with a parade of the participants through the city to the market place before it ends before its hall.   Transformed into a farm with a field, the farmer, the farmer’s wife, servant and maid start tilling the field. But there comes the “witch” in between and mixes all up. It makes the cattle shy and spoil the food. Finally, a big witch hunt begins on until the witch is captured and imprisoned.

It is a thoughtful town.

fancy underwear from bavaria

fancy underwear from Bavaria

The public art illustrates its concern for the world, the strength of religion and also the artfulness in underwear!

family world

family world

The beauty though is massively enhanced by the backdrop of mountains and that clean, crisp, fresh air (Em and I on mountain bikes).DSCN2796

On the way we came upon the most amazing collection of sculptures and collectables.  It is on the way up the mountain from town, a collection of so much it is impossible to describe – he has created a world of how things were, might be, are.  A couple of photos does no justice, a book would do no justice!

Thanks Em.

Plzen Synagogue statement

A wonderful small bronze and sandstone piece that so vividly describes the battle of developing the synagogue, and recognition of a culture, within this town and region.  The Jewish faith abounds with these stories of oppression and meeting challenges.  One cannot help but admire these achievements, but in the same light it shows ho it is part of human nature to strike out at achievers and those that do things a little differently.

This piece is in the Plzen synagogue (May 2014) along with other small bronzes, equally expressive of the then and now.  This piece is only about 500mm high in total, the figure about 200mm, but the lines of the body express strongly that defiance and will of mind.  A memorable piece.

pushing up hill

pushing up hill

It is becoming quite common for places of worship to display modern art that expresses the history of the culture associates with the supporting culture.  For me this has become an improvement, helping to explain the background, purpose, place.



Plzen – Skoda, Pilsner Urquell ….. strong culture


Plzen - Skoda, Pilsener Urquell ..... strong culture

Since their period of oppression (during 2nd World War to 1989 when Russians left) photos and word-of-mouth indicates to me the cleanup and progress has been massive. Even though no-one would have liked to be in the Czech’s shoes during this period, it does seem to have given them great drive to achieve, what could be seen as an advantage in Europe … they are not just working for money, but also to prove what Czech can achieve, how productive they can be and how strong a culture they have.
This photo of Techmania in the Skoda precinct is indicative of the targets being set and the investment being made in education and research. Technology and science are foremost in the Czech future.

A wonderful piece of public art by David Cerny is housed in this building – a statement on each European nation.

Plzen camel


Plzen camel

One of 4 public art pieces in namesti repiublicka (city centre square). This one represents the camel in the Plzen coat of arms, the other 3 being the saint, the greyhound and a religious emblem. The camel, greyhound & saint are all gold plate water features, command attention and motivate the question “what do they represent?” Their size, scale and joyful nature seem to accurately represent the way in which Plzen is going about their business of creating a cultural centre.

Apple & Pear


Apple & Pear

winner of People’s Choice, Sculpture By The Bay 2011, this piece represents the problems that have all but destroyed a vibrant apple & pear industry in Australia. A policy of Free Trade adopted by the Australian Government whilst other countries subsidise their farmers and impose tariffs on the import of our products. The unfair trading field has left the apples and pears swinging in the breeze whilst retailers pick and choose from around the world.
Made from recycled bicycle parts, driftwood, paper mache and fibreglass; by Greg Banfield