While steel is strong, heavy and, at times, clumsy, it is also chameleon-like…it has this ability to be poetic, soft, responsive and light. David Teer
David, or as he’s better known Dave Teer, grew up on his family’s farm in the Hunter valley. Nurtured by his childhood on a farm and the influence of his creative and supportive father, Teer was equipped with a love of nature, art and colour and a flare for working with his hands.
Teer left the farm at 17 for Sydney, where he undertook an apprenticeship in boiler making at the Cockatoo Island Docklands. Here he unknowingly formed the skills that would support a future career working in sculpture.
Before long boiler making gave way to a desire to return to his creative roots. In 1996 Teer enrolled in a Diploma of Fine Arts at the Illawarra Institute of Technology and began studying under Elizabeth Cummings, Ivor Fabok and Kevin Norton. Interestingly he chose to major in painting.
These three lecturers would become central to the development of Teer’s approach and style. While Cummings and Fabok both nurtured his love of colour, Norton reacquainted Teer with the possibilities of steel, passing down the same philosophies on the material as his own teacher, Anthony Caro, had.
The years spent at TAFE proved to be the stellar start Teer needed to forge a healthy practice. Over the last 14 years he has concentrated on building a diverse oeuvre, working in painting, collage and metal sculpture, outsmarting the claustrophobia that comes with being hemmed in by technique or material.
This said, Teer works predominantly with steel and found objects. His sculptures traverse the line of abstraction that trace its origins back to nature. Music, poetry, drawing, reading, conversations and sourcing materials are all potential igniters for the starting direction of a work. From there it’s about spontaneity and the artist using his innate sensibility for marrying the right forms together to achieve a sense of balance and harmony.
Dave Teer has been exhibiting in group and solo exhibitions across Australia since 1998. He has had three solo exhibitions (2003, 2006 & 2013) at Defiance Gallery to date. His sculptures can be found in many private and public collections in Australia. Teer is represented by Defiance Gallery, Sydney.
Sketch Trustee (featured above and in this exhibition) from one direction, then move to a different side and sketch the sculpture from that position. Which sketch/view to do you like more? Why?
Can you see the elements of landscape in Teer’s large metal sculpture Landscape Series III (displayed above and in this exhibition)?
Research the Cockatoo Island Docklands
Teer hand paints some of his metal sculptures. Experiment with paints that adhere to a metallic surface e.g. foil, and record the results in your visual diary.
Discuss this quote: …I believe this is what sculpture can and does do best. It engages people in a most direct, tangible and physical way. Sculpture can help us define the places and spaces we inhabit. It has this wonderful ability to help inform us of both our physical and psychological place in the world. David Teer
Research Teer’s hand coloured sculptures and compare them to the work of his lecturer Ivor Fabok. Explore the weight of Fabok’s influence on Teer.
IMAGES: Portrait: David Teer in his studio. (detail) Photo: Richard Freeman. David Teer Trustee 1998. mild steel. 42 x 29 x 22 cm. Gift of Deodent P/L under the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program. Photo: Clare Lewis. David Teer Landscape Series III 1998. mild steel. 12 x 115 x 21 cm. Gift of Deodent P/L under the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program. Photo: Clare Lewis.