I have always enjoyed the geometry of my surroundings. As a child I was often on my father's building sites. There I saw the geometry of wall and roof frames, bricks and windows for placement in the construction of homes. Geoff Ireland
It could be said the Geoff Ireland has been engaged in two careers for most of his working life: teaching and his own sculpture practice.
Ireland began his career as an art teacher, working in several Sydney high schools and the TAFE system. In 1979 he took a position at the East Sydney Technical College (ESTC). This was the start of a career that would see him become part of the transition from the ESTC to the National Art School (NAS) and progress through the ranks of academia.
Throughout his tenure at ESTC and NAS, Ireland continued to produce sculptures, travel and exhibit prolifically in Sydney. In 1982 Ireland was sent to the USA on a Project Fellowship Formal Study Grant from The NSW Department of Technical & Further Education. This trip would not only earn him a Johnson Atelier Graduate Assistantship at the Johnson Atelier Institute Princeton, New Jersey but his time in the US also opened his practice up to explore new concepts of geometry and organic movement. This resulted in several bodies of work which concentrated on flags. Victory Sail, shown right and included in this exhibition, is a later example of these works.
Ireland's sculptures are often described by reviewers using juxtapositions: harmony and aggressiveness; subliminal force and balance; time bound and in the moment.
His body of work is vast, as are his range of techniques and materials he uses. Ireland often works fairly small, giving the sculptures an air of tight, well thought out compositions, as if not one piece was ill considered. Jacques Delaruelle best described Ireland's work in an essay for Ceramics: Art and Perception, indeed his works do not purport to be drawings in space, but read rather as so many metaphors of actions and feelings.
Geoff Ireland is currently lecturing part time in Sculpture at NAS. His sculptures can be found at Kuching Waterfront, Malaysia, in several regional galleries in NSW and private collections in Australia and the USA. He is represented by Defiance Gallery, Sydney, NSW.
Review the design of several flags e.g. the Australian and USA flags. Using a photocopy cut up the flag and redesign it using collage.
I have always enjoyed the geometry of my surroundings. As a child I was often on my father's building sites. There I saw the geometry of wall and roof frames, bricks and windows for placement in the construction of homes - Geoff Ireland. Discuss other examples of geometry in our daily lives.
Using Secret Room (featured above left and included in this exhibition) as inspiration, write a story about the sculpture. Where do you think the secret room is? Does the sculpture give you any clues?
Review the design of several flags e.g. Australian and USA flag. Using a photocopy cut up the flag and redesign it using collage. Translate the collage into a 3d sculpture using clay or other materials.
(My)interest in geometry was invigorated by the plentiful display of flags during my time studying in the US. A flag is often visually portrayed as two-dimensional; a flat geometric patterned rectangular image. However, in a real landscape when activated by the wind, the flat patterning of the flag changes into a mesmerizing organic flowing form - Geoff Ireland. Discuss other geometric objects in the landscape that are ‘activated’ by other forces such as weather.
IMAGES: Portrait: Geoff Ireland in the studio Photo: Reece Scannell. Geoff Ireland Victory Sail 2003. cast gun metal bronze. 38 x 43 x 23 cm. Gift of Yvon Gatineau under the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program. Photo: Clare Lewis. Geoff Ireland Secret Room 2006. cast bronze and copper. 29 x 45 x 24 cm. Gift of Yvon Gatineau under the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program. Photo: Clare Lewis.