Student Profile: Peter McGee

(above: Peter (in red) with our founder, Tom Bass AM)

How long have you been at TBSSS? 

My guess is I’ve been attending the school for about 15 years (as you can see from the photo!) – it’s been a fantastic experience on so many levels.

Where do you travel from each week?

Luckily I live quite close by – about a 10 minute walk away.

What do you do when you’re not sculpting?

I work in a risk management/governance role for a small government enterprise.

What made you take up sculpting?

A friend did a term at the School and encouraged me to try a class.  I’ve always enjoyed the way sculpture is a physical expression of an idea.  I like the tactility, the way sculpture takes up space in the environment, and the fact that it often invites a physical interaction with the community.  Sculpture engenders a feeling of permanence and structure in the public space, and can be a marker in peoples’ lives – how many time have people met under the sculpture of the Queen outside of the QVB building in the cit? Or many years ago at the Raindrop Fountain in Roselands Shopping Centre? Or even the Poo On Sticks (Stones Against theSky) at Kings Cross?

What inspires your sculpture practice?

Initially I felt compelled to create bass relief sculptures that were associated with a story, often a maritime history.  I enjoyed the challenge of rendering an idea on a relatively flat canvas.  More recently I’ve been interested in the simplicity of Inuit and Indigenous sculptures and have found that simplicity is not very simple at all.

Tell us about what you’re working on currently…

At the moment I’m back to a historical relief – this time of the image of the 3 medalists of the 200m sprint in the 1968 Mexico Olympics. An Australian, Peter Norman, was awarded the silver medal – the gold and bronze medals being taken by two much taller, American sprinters, Tommie Smith and John Carlos respectively.  The two Americans received the medals and raised their arms in a black power salute causing great political controversy.  You can read more about it on Wikpedia here. It’s an enormously compelling Australian story and I hoping to deliver an equally compelling image.

Who are your favourite artists / sculptors?

It’s impossible to be in the Studio for 15 years and not be impressed by the elegance, simplicity and economy of Tom’s work and the way he brings images together in a story. But I also like the work of Bertram Mackennal, Eric Gill and Andor Meszaros, and the humour and attitude of Keld Moseholm.

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