Adam Laerkesen, a Sydney-based sculptor who has exhibited locally, nationally and internationally.Graduate of the National Art School and Sydney College of the Arts.
I grew up in the suburbs of Surfers Paradise, in a curved street with houses that had no back fences but opened onto an unmanicured park; it was a place of abandon and I couldn’t ask for a better playground. Then my parents moved us to a house that sat alone in a bush clearing at the end of a long winding dirt track. It was isolated, isolating. I always felt those iron barks with their bleeding saps were watching me. I became familiar with the bush, but always felt there was something unfamiliar there too. The feeling of otherness and unease was strong. Was it the isolation? Was it the silence or the noise? Was it that whenever you stared out the window the bush always stared back? I don’t know. But that experience shaped my sculptural practice.
Since graduating in 1985 I’ve exhibited in more than thirty shows, including nine solo shows and several of the popular Sculpture by the Sea exhibitions. My most recent solo was ‘Hypnopomp’ at Gippsland Gallery and Dianne Tanzer Gallery+ Projects in 2013, and I have since been invited to exhibit at the new Gippsland Art Gallery in a show entitled ‘Imaginary Beings’, which will open in 2017.
My sculptural practice is concerned with nature, the play of imagination and the sensory perception of the body. It is my intention that the viewer’s initial response is experienced through the body; a haptic response which initially bypasses the intellect, allowing the viewers’ senses and imagination to reveal themselves through the art work. It has an open-ended quality, which allows the viewer to imbue their own poetry and imagination into it. .
In 1999 I had the great adventure and honour of travelling with my work as part of the ‘Sydney Beirut / Beirut Sydney’ cultural exchange exhibition, and between 2011 and 2013 I was part of ‘Dreamweavers’, an exhibition that toured nationally and for which I gave artist talks, Q&A sessions and an interview for ABC Art Nation. Gaining such international and national exposure and hearing stories of people’s imaginative interactions with my work has enriched my art practice, and I would gladly participate in publicity and public engagement for my work again.
The familiar and the unfamiliar, mystery and the sense of other continue to pique my imagination. The bush seeps into my dreams where opposites collide and marry, and these visions manifest as starting points in my work. Nature has always informed my work and in past exhibitions I’ve played with the idea of mutating nature through my sculpture. I use sculpture to reveal forces of nature, as Merleau Ponty said “making the invisible visible”.
I have been selected as a finalist in the John Fries Memorial Prize, Melbourne Sculpture Prize, Woollahra small sculpture Prize and several Sculptures by the Sea. My work is held in art collections such as Art Bank and Sue Cato Counsel. Sass and Bide have bought several of my sculptures, and in 2010 commissioned me to create a major sculpture for their new ‘high end’ shop in Sydney’s Strand Arcade.
The combination of familiar and unfamiliar subject matter asks the viewer to experience and think in new and divergent ways. This allows the possibility of the unconscious to manifest in my work, giving space for poetic possibilities and the unfurling of the mysterious. The end result is often menacing and playful, dramatic and visceral, familiar and unpredictable.
I create sculpture out of instinct, intuition and vision. It is not until the work is completed that I have any idea as to what my artistic intention was. It’s this adventure of the imagination, along the blurred line between the familiar and the unfamiliar, that continues to drive my work and to seek further opportunities to exhibit. Via http://adamlaerkesen.com/home/