England/Australia born 1962
Canberra-based Philip Spelman trained at the Queensland College of the Arts before going on to major in sculpture at the Canberra School of Art. Australian National University, graduating there in 1987. Spelman works mostly in welded steel or cast and fabricated bronze. Invariably, his steel sculpture is painted in bright primary colours, a feature he declares ‘is essential to draw viewers’ eyes to my works across long distances – whether in the city or in the landscape!.
At the Canberra School of Art, Spelman was taught by the noted constructivist sculptor, Ron Robertson-Swann, whose advocacy of the welded- metal idiom and focus on purely abstract form was a key influence on Spelman’s development as a formalist sculptor.
Nonetheless, Spelman’s sculpture is never entirely devoid of reference to the external world and is rarely without lyrical, even playful passages such as occurs here with the stylized chair and bottle-shaped elements that support opposing ends of a wobbly swag – not exactly a parabola – of loosely-connected petal-like shapes.