“Steel is not commonly used in furniture design since it is heavy, lacks flexibility and appears uninviting and cold. Pergay was the first artist to really dig deep into steel. Her impact and touch on steel is beyond real to me and she will forever remain a role model and pioneer for the use of steel in furniture design.” – Linus R. Adolfsson, Curator at the Los-Angeles based Gallery Seomi
Over the past fifty years, steel has become the material of choice for modern artists. You will find steel sculptures throughout every major city in the world. Not only is it notoriously difficult to work with steel as a medium (part of the reason that it has such clout in certain circles), but it is incredibly durable and is perfect for outdoor art pieces.
Artists, designers and collectors all seem to value the functional durability and aesthetic beauty of steel. As technology has improved, so has the potential to create ever more exciting and glorious artistic monuments. It is also becoming more common for every day interior objects to made out of steel and constructed in tasteful ways.
Types of Steel Art Objects And Their Construction
There is a recent fad in the world of interior design to produce furniture made of steel with small areas of high quality wood. These types of furniture have won many interior fashion shows across the world.
There is a reason for all this excitement. Steel has become a beacon of progress across the world. Steel is extremely tensile and able to make firm structural frames. Steel tiles have also become a very popular material for modern kitchens as well as living rooms and outdoor areas.
Weathered steel, known for it’s faded red, rusty veneer, has graced many public parks. Weathered steel is very popular in the construction of bridges and marine structures. It is also a very durable and practical material for building outdoor structures.
Some of the fashion capitals of the world, including New York and Dubai, have adorned their cities with high quality steel art. Japan too seems to be jumping onboard the ‘steel train’. If you look at the work of renowned Emirates artist Mattar Bin Lahej, you will notice that his artwork makes usage of steel very commonly. His artwork has been displayed at many culturally significant buildings, such as the Sharjah Islamic Museum.
Many artists have attributed new laser-cutting technology to the large-scale adoption of steel as medium for contemporary artists.
Famous Australian Steel Art Structures
Some of these artistic sculptures are not cheap to produce though. Below are some of the most famous structures across Australia.
1. Alex Knox’s “Moth Ascending”
The Moth Ascending sculpture is situated in the heart of the Australian Capital in Canberra south. The structure depicts a Bogong moth as it begins to fly. The structure cost a whopping $421,000 dollars. This was fairly controversial at the time of it’s construction in 2012. The steel plate it is constructed from was prepared using state of the art laser cutting services.
2. Bruce Armstrong’s “Owl”
This sculpture was prepared around the same time as Alex Knox’s “Moth Ascending”. Yet again controversy followed when it was discovered that the ‘penis shaped owl’ (as reported by the ABC) cost $400,000. When asked about the phallic nature of the structure by the ABC, Armstrong replied, “It wasn’t anything I intended to do, it is just how it came out.”
3. Richard Goodwin’s “Rhizome”
This massive structure is shaped like tall grass and is over ten metres wide and nearly eighteen metres tall. This large structure cost $300,000 to construct and adorns Gungahlin Drive in the Australian Capital Territory.
4. Anne Ross’s “Other Side of Midnight”
This playful piece cost a relatively modest $187,000 to produce, and depicts a young girl and her two dogs. This colourful piece was designed to reflect the nearby carousel that has become a Canberra historical landmark. In it the themes of ‘imagine and toys’ are explored according to it’s creator Anne Ross.
5. Les Kossatz’s “Ainslie’s Sheep”
Produced in 2001, this tongue in cheek sculpture has been a popular addition to the landscape of Canberra. These two sheep are made of cast aluminium in the heart of the central shopping area and are often scaled by rambunctious children. The structure gets it’s name from James Ainslie, who was known as one of earliest Australian pastoralists.
As you can see, steel has made it’s way into the hearts and minds of not just Australia, but the world. As technology continues to improve, there is no doubt that more artists will begin to play with the medium.