Student Profile: Simon Gandevia

How long have been at TBSSS? 

I have been coming regularly to TBSSS since 2011 after I came to a one-day workshop.  My preference has been for Wednesday evening as it’s about half way through the week and excellent for a ‘break’.  I have formed some great friendships over the time.  Looking back from 2021 I have no idea how I managed to have about 13 pieces for an exhibition at the TBSSS Clara St Gallery in 2015.

Where do you travel from each week?

I travel across from Coogee/Randwick which is where I live and work.

What do you do when you’re not sculpting?

Officially I work doing medical research at Neuroscience Research Australia ad doing a small amount of clinical work on respiration.  The research is largely devoted to understanding how we control our movements and what happens in conditions when there is a motor impairment such as in multiple sclerosis and after a stroke or spinal cord injury.

What made you take up sculpting?

Early in my medical career I realised I needed some interesting recreational activities and I went to some evening classes on sculpture.  Then I returned to this actively about 10 years ago.  I rapidly evolved to prefer carving either sandstone and wood.  In addition, I sometimes use found objects.

What inspires your sculpture practice?

I am frequently drawn to the natural environment and to selecting something within it that interests me.  The process of developing a piece either from a small model or more organically is exciting – except of course when a stone piece cracks or otherwise misbehaves.

Tell us about what you’re working on currently…

The last year let me fiddle and finish three pieces (photo above, left to right): one piece of burnt wood on a carved sandstone base, one of vertical rusted railway steel on a fontainebleau base, and one of jacaranda wood mounted (with difficulty) on walnut.  Over the last few months at TBSSS and at home I have been working on a sandstone block that was discarded because of a very strong seam of dark ironstone (pictured below).  This made it challenging to design and to actually carve.  I mocked it up with two colours of plasticine.  It is nearly finished but it will need a sympathetic base.

Who are your favourite artists / sculptors?

I don’t really have favourites.  I enjoy inspecting most 20th century-and-beyond work.  In pre-covid times I travelled often to London for work and to see family.  A routine element to every trip were visits to the Tate Britain to see the works by Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth, and to the Tate Modern to see whatever was displayed, but often a batch of works by Constantin Brancusi.

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