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Shaped by the Environment

Shaped by the Environment

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Take a moment to appreciate and enjoy one of the world’s oldest art forms, and see how married artists Trevor and Lorraine Polglase can produce entirely separate work from the same material and environment.

Words: Anne Hudson

133 copyFrom the dawn of time, humans have formed shapes from stone; carved artefacts have been discovered that predate cave paintings.
Carving from stone is different than creating a bronze or ceramic sculpture where the form is built up by the addition of material. The stone sculptor has to remove material to reveal a shape. There is little room for error or a change of mind. The shape is hewn from the marble or stone then polished, transforming the stone, releasing its inner beauty.
Trevor and Lorraine Polglase live and work on a four-acre beachside, tropical property in Golden Bay. As full-time artists, with a lifelong interest in art, they produce, among other things, beautifully crafted marble sculptures.
Golden Bay is a magical part of the world. Just a mention of the name seems to cast a spell on the viewer adding a hidden value to the work. Set between two national parks – Kahurangi and Abel Tasman – Golden Bay provides a fabulous environment in which the Polglases are immersed, with rivers, hills, trees, beaches and a benign climate. This area has long been attractive to artists and craftspeople and, for the sculpting fraternity, there is the added attraction of Takaka Hills marble, which provides a material that is of a high quality.
The marble comes in many colours: black, grey, green and white. The Kairuru quarries were used to source marble for the first Parliament buildings in Wellington, and much of this has since been recycled by other artists. The rough stone is hewn into shape, but, as Lorraine says, “You’ve got to let the marble speak, the beauty of the marble has to come through.”
Artists often say they create art in response to their environment. Their love of nature inspires the subject matter of their work. This seems an obvious type of connection and a limitless source of inspiration. Lorraine’s influences are sourced directly from the environment, from the small shells and driftwood on the beach to the sculptural rocky limestone outcrops.
Lorraine loves birds and often shapes generic birds from marble and other stones she has found and is captivated by. The luminosity of the materials used adds that essential sparkle to the work. Her work is gentle and tactile; appealing and pleasing, fitting into both outdoor and indoor settings.
Trevor, on the other hand, despite working in an identical material, produces more formal, modernist, abstract shapes using the stone itself to dictate the outcome. His shapes are reminiscent of Barbara Hepworth’s sculptures. He uses clear flowing curved forms and lines, which portray more conceptual ideas and shapes as of formed by water or wind, smoothed by time.
Both artists have exhibited widely within New Zealand. They are loyal exhibitors at Art in a Garden, Flaxmere, Hawarden and are always most sought after at that event.