Mute. Dark. Repetitive. Resolute. Since its earliest beginnings, site-specific minimalist sculpture – apart from presenting us with the concreteness of material and form – has sought to direct our attention to the character of the site and to make us conscious of our own relations to that site. Rogers’ “Sentinels” does all three of these things.
It’s 15-metre tall rectilinear columns made from solid black concrete create an emphatic and matter-of-fact statement on the structural possibilities and scale potential of reinforced concrete: a material at once brutish and yet, as here, capable of elegance and subtlety. But they also direct our gaze and our thoughts elsewhere. Their eight-times human scale, especially the closer we stand to them, corresponds to the, at times, overwhelming scale of the Gibbs Farm environment.
With this in mind, like the land beneath our feet, the four precisely aligned columns form a counterpoint to swirling coastal winds that is capable of enduring the buffeting storms. Their austere posture and almost expressionless blackness, like the hermit at the top of a mountain, silently ask us about our own commitment to watch over land, sea and sky, in Rogers’ words, “for generations to come.”
Andrew Rogers (b. 1947) is an Australian artist with a distinguished career in site-specific sculpture, land art and exhibitions. His most ambitious global project prior to fulfilling the commission for Gibbs Farm was “Rhythms of Life” comprised of a connected set of 51 large scale stone sculptures / geoglyphs encircling the earth, across 16 countries and all seven continents; and it is even visible from space.
Rogers’ work is the subject of several books; and of documentaries shown on Ovation in the United States, the Discovery channel in Europe and the ABC and National Geographic channels. Since 1993 he has exhibited widely, including throughout Australia and in the United States, Chile, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Turkey, Israel, Greece, Germany, Slovakia, Switzerland, Italy, Denmark and Iceland.