View from the other side

Terry Stringer: ‘‘Generally my work has been about excitement; about what you find  on the other side of the sculpture.’’. Photos: Supplied
Terry Stringer: ‘‘Generally my work has been about excitement; about what you find on the other side of the sculpture.’’. Photos: Supplied
An Allegory of Time (Maquette) 2017
An Allegory of Time (Maquette) 2017
Seated Figure of Many Views (2009)
Seated Figure of Many Views (2009)

With a new workshop and new urban lifestyle, New Zealand sculptor Terry Stringer has said goodbye to 20 years of country living. He tells Rebecca Fox about making the transition.

Sculptor Terry Stringer sees his life work as making the same piece ''over and over'' again.

Given he has been sculpting for more than 50 years, that is a lot of pieces.

''I don't want to sound like I'm complaining. I follow my feelings wherever they might take me.

His new exhibition at the Milford Gallery shows some of his more recent ideas, including a head with spiral design, as well as some of his older pieces.

''It breaks the mass and rigidity of the head and is a bit more shaped.''

Another piece features an engraved line on the figure of a girl.

''It's added a little element of drawing. It's like a tattoo. The figure has more edge, with a roundness to the figure.''

His bronze works start as ''little pieces of clay'', small enough so he can shift and meld it under his hands as he works out his design.

''Things can change radically.''

With one work he made a small ''flowing'' version and a larger ''medium-sized'' piece.

''It has developed if you look from one piece to the next. The first is finding out and the second is capturing the work properly.''

He likes the element of surprise his three-dimensional works provide.

''Generally my work has been about excitement; about what you find on the other side of the sculpture.

''You think you know what it is about, and then you walk around the sculpture and it adds another image.''

English-born and Auckland-trained, Stringer prefers not to give the game away when it comes to what his sculptures are about.

''It's not necessarily clear about what is happening and sometimes the title doesn't help.''

He has always worked at home in a studio in his garden.

''I developed a pattern where I could walk in and out of the studio going back to rediscover the work. Sometimes you can become too involved and you lose track.''

In his previous home in Mahurangi, north of Auckland, he opened the garden as a sculpture park.

However, he realised the upkeep of the garden was going to become too much work.

''We've now moved back to the city and are located in a big warehouse. It's more convenient.''

He and his wife are slowly developing the space into a combined living and studio area.

''It's a complete change. We're starting again.''

Although the idea of living with his work does not sit well with the sculptor.

''I'm not happy to have my own sculptures around me . I like collecting work to have around me. You see enough of your own sculpture when you're making it.''

Having a new studio is also a new experience and he wondered how it would influence his work.

''I was a little susceptible to the changes of it not working for me.

''The new work has come through happily enough. The studio seems conducive to good work.''

Having a larger workspace has given him the opportunity to make bigger works.

''I'm not there yet but it is awfully tempting. I'm not sure the world needs big works from me.''

The warehouse also provides him with some much needed additional storage space, although his builder had suggested it may be time Stringer ''decluttered a bit''.

''There's things I've held on to since art school. I should make some sense of it all though.''

Stringer was looking forward to seeing his work on display as it was a rare chance to view it as a whole.

''When you take it away from home, it is more naked out in the world; you can judge it for what it is and where it is going.''

To see

Terry Stringer, ‘‘That Certain Smile’’, Saturday to October 4.

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