But no matter what sculptures I photographed, none of them compared in my mind to those at Gibbs Farm.
I first blogged about Alan Gibbs' farm in December, 2009 and again in December, 2012 and there has also been the occasional photo taken from the road. I said in 09 that my preferred route to Auckland was not via State Highway One but rather the less popular SH16 which twists and turns, following the Kaipara Harbour most of the way. I still prefer to have a second rate road to myself than to share a first rate road with others. Still prefer the road less travelled.
One of the big attractions for me about SH16 is the 1,000 acre property, modestly named Gibbs Farm, owned by millionaire Alan Gibbs. He bought the windswept site in 1991. Since then, he has commissioned sculptures featuring original works by local and internationally renowned artists.
My fascination with the place has been growing since 2001 when a huge wall appeared on the landscape. I now know it's dimensions - 252 metres longs x 6m x 50mm, made from 56 Corten steel plates. It has always looked huge to me and now that I've stood beside it, I am even more impressed by it. And it leans out by 11 degrees from the vertical. And, contrary to how it looks from the road, it has beautiful sensual curves.
In late Nov/early Dec 2012 my friend Chris announced she had gained access for us to an Open Day at Gibbs Farm and I tried to prepare myself for a little disappointment - surely nothing could live up to my expectations. Hah! It was all I dreamed it would be - and more.
The farm the place used to be didn't warrant a second look. Since falling into Mr Gibbs' hands it has become a place of beauty. It's a sculpture park like no other. The scale of the sculptures are deceptively disguised by the scale of the landscape but approaching them on foot, they grow and become more and more impressive as you draw near.
Bermar Venet - 88.5 ARCx8 2012 (on the far right) as seen from the road
I posted this collage in 2012. My favourite was the one in the bottom right hand corner below, named Floating Island of the Immortals.
The little handbook we were given said this work was "inspired by monumental office block sculptures in Beijing and feng shui landscape gardening traditions (by sculptor Zhan Wang) Wang's scholar's rock is an enlargement of the so called "Chinese miniature landscape." In the past, people would search for an idealistic world or immortals within these landscapes." That sounds a bit high brow for me but there was something about this sculpture that enticed, and welcomed contemplation. It mesmerised as it moved ever so gently on the water.
To say thank you, Alan Gibbs, falls way short. He allows the public to visit, for free, by prior appointment, about once a month. It blows me away that I've visited one of the world's leading sculpture parks - and it cost me nothing. I've been up close to monumental art works by some of the world's most famous artists - and I only had to travel an hour or so.
I'm sure this topic is going to bring some wonderful sculptures to my notice. I will be checking to find them here.