John Topfer

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Australian Sculptures


Contemporary Sculpture

My work deals with the abstracted natural form in the landscape. Welded mild or corten steel is constructed to create bold shapes derived from the human form and natural elements.

The focus is on line and the sweep of curve and volume. Many of the works are multi-pieced, allowing movement, expansion and contraction of positive and negative spaces. Volumes are emphasised through the use of strong colour and the interplay of spacing between elements of the work.

The sculptures are designed be placed in the landscape, creating a tangible connection to the land.

Following the disastrous bushfires around Canberra in 2003 the countryside in which I live was reduced to its very essential and simple elements; stark lines and fundamental shapes devoid of much of the ‘dressings’ that had been burnt away. Since then the land has been in the grip of drought. One theme of my work is to seek to express these simple elements of components of the landscape and the effect of drought on them. The use of rusted finishes, in both mild steel and corten, tries to capture the drought affected hues of the landscape.

In counterpoint I have developed a fascination for surfing; for the way that for many it seems almost to be elevated to a religion; and the relationship of surfers with other people. This work draws on human themes, love, passion, solitude.

I was recently fortunate to be awarded the major prize at the 2011 Toorak Village Sculpture Festival, the Stonnington Sculpture Prize. The award was for a version of my work “Growth”, incorporating two elements 2900mm high. An image can be seen in Current Works. The competition was judged by Anita Archer who said of the work;

“I have chosen this work because I was extremely moved and impressed by the simple minimal organic form of this work. I particularly liked the natural references in an urban environment. Whilst I understand that this artist would fit the ’emerging’ category, I commend the artist’s decision to work on a monumental scale. I believe that this work shows an aesthetic maturity in the artist’s practice. Additionally, I feel that the artist has demonstrated high level of technical skill and professional finish in his use of material.”