Adrian Spurr’s series of carved stone sculptures will be on display in the historic Billilla gardens until 20 September 2022.
The three large stone sculptures titled Melbourne Zeus (2017–22) featured with the artist above, Sphinx prior (2017–21) and Zephyr (2022) were worked on by Spurr during his time at Billilla’s old coach house as a Billilla Studio Artist throughout 2020-21.
These images appear larger in the gallery box
Adrian Spurr’s sculptural practice illustrates his ongoing concern with figuration, surface pattern and texture. Working in a classical style, Spurr creates carved sculptures that pay homage to our past with a contemporary spin. His ancient looking deities are often embellished with motifs of the 21st century, for example his Head of a (blind) Prophet (2015), could be mistaken for an ancient relic if it weren’t for its adornment of a pair of headphones.
Adrian Spurr, Head of a (blind) Prophet 2015, limestone, stucco and found drawer, 60 x 30 x 30cm. Courtesy the artist.
A common characteristic of Spurr’s work is intentionally leaving parts of the stone untouched, giving the appearance of being unfinished. However, these sections are a chance for the material characteristics of the stone to be seen, and their natural texture often evokes further meaning. Sphinx prior (2017–22) recalls the ancient mythical creature of a sphinx with the head of a human, body of a lion and wings of a bird, although Spurr gives a mere suggestion of the lion’s mane through the natural shape of the stone. This technique also gives his audience the chance for a revelatory discovery where, if approached by the unfinished side, the viewer is surprised by the intricately carved and detailed face of the work.
Adrian Spurr, Sphinx prior 2017–22, limestone, 71 x 50 x 52 cm. Courtesy the artist.
In Zephyr (2022), the face of Spurr’s Westery Wind emerges from a large block of limestone. Below the carved face is a small niche in which one of Spurr’s small bronze chairs sits beyond a lead-light window. An empty chair is a recurring motif regularly used by Spurr in his practice, implying the presence as well as absence of figures in our past.
Adrian Spurr, Zephyr 2022, limestone, 117 x 56 x 42 cm. Courtesy the artist.
Adrian Spurr is a sculptor and Master Printmaker. In his sculptural practice, he employs various materials such as wood, stone and bronze and will often combine mediums to contemporize his forms. As a printmaker, he incorporates modern technology such as laser cutters, 3D printing and photopolymer plate with traditional relief printing and screen-printing processes. His sculpting practice incorporates both traditional carving and found assemblages. Spurr completed a Bachelor in Sculpture (honours) and Master in Printmaking in the United Kingdom and worked as an art teacher at Brighton Secondary College for twenty years. He is the co-founder of the Sunshine Print Artspace and in 2019 curated the inaugural BIG Sculpture Biennale at VegOut, St. Kilda Community Gardens. Spurr was a Billilla Studio Artist in 2020-2021.