Art & Design

   

Interview with Andrew Rogers

Posted by Anne Hasegawa

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Andrew Rogers isn’t your typical artist. Specialising in sculpture and land art, Rogers is an internationally renowned artist who has literally travelled around the world constructing remarkable artworks on every continent.

Milk Bar chats to Andrew Rogers about being an artist, working in large scales and the last remaining nomadic tribe of the world.

MILK BAR: How did you begin creating large scale sculptures and land art?

ANDREW ROGERS: I used to be a painter. Then I was a sculptor, making object art. I had the idea to create some land art when I was overseas teaching at a university. Once we did one, we decided we better connect them, because the idea is they’re a connected series of drawings across the Earth. So what I’ve tried to do is to draw all the way around the Earth. We’ve worked on seven continents, we’ve even built in Antarctica!

MB: Where did the inspiration from with these ‘shell’ sculptures come from?

AR: Well, the idea is that they’re not really shells, they’re shell-like, they’re molten. So I suppose the classic shell pattern that everybody has in their mind is a nautilus shell. But most shells follow a mathematical sequence called a Fibonacci sequence. So I’ve been building Fibonacci sequences around the world, so these curves all resemble the same sequence.

When you see some of the structures I’ve created, it takes you into the domain of speculation. Like, what is it? Why is it here? And it’s the same when the sculptures are exhibited, they look like shells but they’re not really shells. So it’s about taking you into speculation, your contemplation about what these things are about.

MB: You were also working in Namibia recently. What were you doing over there?

AR: Just a few weeks ago, we worked there with the Himba people. The Himba people are the last nomads of the world. So they’re desert people and they move with their cattle, living in grass and thatched houses. They are a very interesting people.

MB: How were you able to get in touch with such a secluded tribe?

AR: All the places I work have some sort of special significance, either a U.N. World Heritage Site or adjacent to it.

I was interested in this area because it’s a very beautiful desert area but the people are the last nomads. I wanted to find them and have an experience working with them creating stone structures, because that’s not something they normally do.

MB: How much time do you typically spend on your artwork?

AR: It’s more about coming up with the idea. I’ve had a nautilus shell on my desk for about 15 years. So gradually, it’s the time and looking at it and thinking about it and thinking about its beauty and its pattern. Why does it attract you? Why are we interested in beautiful faces and why are we interested in repetitive patterns? Trying to think, well, what are the possibilities of abstracting from the pattern and creating beautiful things?

MB: Do you have any words of wisdom for the aspiring artists out there?

AR: You’ve got to work hard! There’s no substitute for hard work, it doesn’t happen by itself. I think about art seven days a week, 24 hours a day. I work really hard. That’s the only way you get the work done!

You can see Andrew’s exhibition Molten Concepts at Mossgreen Gallery, 310 Toorak Road, South Yarra now until November 3. On Saturday 20 October, you can share a glass of wine with Andrew at Mossgreen Gallery as he talks about his latest works.

Find out more at www.andrewrogers.org.


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