McLachlan Studio

Sculpture Park

Hugh McLachlan Sculpture

My Sculpture Studio is situated on our property in rural Tasmania, Australia. Our beautiful property on the banks of the Meander River just outside Deloraine both nurtures and inspires my creativity.

 

Our designer jewellery practise has informed on my sculpture; there is a preciousness and sensuality about my sculpture, the fluid lines and highly polished surface suggests the illusion of flow. My sculptures have been purchased and installed in a variety of locations; from boutique hotel lobbies to rural properties, courtyards, apartments and terraces.

 

I find the work process is integral to the finished sculpture so I do all the making myself, allowing me to incorporate all the random ideas and directions that help breath life into a sculpture.

I started to explore the Narcissus myth in 2017 when I made ‘Slow Flow to Narcissism’ exhibited at Sculpture by the Sea Bondi. The following year I made ‘Narcissus Shouting. Echo Shouting also exhibited at Sculpture by the Sea Bondi. Both these sculptures used an ancient myth to explore a modern phenomenon. We live in a Narcissistic era, but unlike Narcissus who had to wander into the forest to find his pool, we all have our own private mobile pool that accompanies us everywhere we go, bathing us in an intoxicating warm glow.

 

‘Narcissus Kiss Bubble’ delves further into the reflecting pool where we search and search. A search for love can be playfully romantic, or as Narcissus found, a self-absorbing trap from which there is no escape. I hope when people gaze into the ‘Narcissus Kiss Bubble’ collection of sculptures and see their reflections, that they find their playful romantic side and the idea of a kiss bubble will not seem so improbable after all.

To go forward in developing the Narcissus sculptures I had to go back, right back to the myth of Narcissus. We live in a Narcissistic era. But unlike Narcissus who had to wander into the forest to find his pool, we all have our own private mobile pool that accompanies us everywhere we go, bathing us in an intoxicating warm glow.

 

The Narcissism Series of sculptures explore how seductive and intoxicating the social media pool is and the inevitable flow into its depths

The breath of life for a sculpture comes from the conception of an idea; time spent with sketchbook and pencil, listening to music or staring off into the distance. Transforming that concept into a three dimensional object comes from the craft of making. Without the skills of making, the idea is locked inside your head or seriously compromised. Design is the other major input; designing an object so it doesn’t fall over, choice of material and how to structure the piece to best convey the concept, but the breath of life comes from the concept. I started my career studying Gold and Silversmith at RMIT in the mid 1970’s, a discipline placing great importance on craft and design. Many of my jewellery designs are sculptural forms in miniature and they have informed on my approach to sculpture.

 

The Narcissus theme started with a simple idea, I was looking at changing states, transformations from solid to liquid. My ‘Slow Flow’ sculptures of highly polished stainless steel gave the appearance of metal in a state of flow, it also gave a surface for people to look at their own reflection. Narcissus as a metaphor for our time, it is as relevant now as it was for the ancient Greeks.

Making

 

The polish and sensual fluid forms of my sculpture give the impression that liquid mercury has been poured into a mould and then somehow solidified - nothing could be further from the truth. The sculptures are made by heating solid rods of stainless steel to red hot and bending the rod to form the shape of the sculpture - I bend these rods free hand so that no two sculptures are the same. I plasma cut and form stainless steel sheet to form the body of the sculpture and then tig weld all the pieces together to form the final shape. I then use angle grinders and a variety of different abrasives to reduce the sculpture to its fluid form. Finally the sculpture is polished to a mirror finish, completing the illusion that the sculpture is in a state of flow.

 

 

Maintenance

 

I want my sculptures to last a thousand years at the very least so I use high grade stainless steel - 316 or marine grade. Because the sculptures are highly polished they are resistant to tea stain, a common problem for stainless steel balustrades and outdoor fittings on houses close to the coast. A sculpture of mine was installed on a coastal property for five years and has shown no signs of tea stain whereas the balustrade on the deck and light fittings, all 316 grade, suffer constantly from tea stain. The maintenance programme is an occasional wash down with a garden hose - when it rains it does the job for you. To remove grime use a soft cloth, warm water and detergent.