Over the rise the vineyards course their way down the hillside to the east disappearing into the fog that steadily rolls in off the Westernport Bay, the upscaled black edifice of Inge King’s Grand Arch comes into view at the forecourt to the restaurant entrance. The drive encircling the work is bounded by a low convex concrete wall, sweeping up and curving both vertically and horizontally to enclose the arid stone courtyard at the centre of which stands a singular Queensland bottle tree. Entering the interior the polished concrete floor meets contrast with the warmer timber panelling of the walls and ceiling, the latter of which is perforated in order to provide some softening of the reverberation created by the hard surfaces. Lighting and fittings are finished in black giving the space a warm dark ambience. The southern side of the structure is entirely glass, viewing out to the sculpture park and bay beyond.
The paths on which you take meander and ribbon along the top of the hill leading you past large sculptures of various mediums by a variety of both local and international artists including Tony Cragg, Lenton Parr and Deborah Halpern amongst others. Whilst most are originals moved from other locations to the park, some are upscaled such as Lenton Parr’s Vega which is a much larger version of Parr’s original 1969 marquette.
The sculpture park was laid out by Hassell Studio and is curated by former curator of the NGV and former director of Geelong Gallery Geoffrey Edwards, “it is ultimately a private collection; a private collection very prominent in the public realm… it is the only sculpture park in Australia to incorporate really significant large scale works”. The sculptures within the park are made up by purchased works which were mostly site specific or created to be viewed in an intended space thus not necessarily retaining the artists initial impact of a piece.
Although some, even though not in their intended location still work well with their surroundings such as Rise I by Andrew Rogers and Bert Flugelman’s 2007 work Conversation where the mirrored angled surfaces both juxtapose and align with the slanted concrete walls they intrude upon when viewed from the intended angle. Other pieces such as Mirri by Kamilaroi artist Reko Rennie are being created to be site specific to the park as it continues to grow and develop, to see forth the legacy that owners the Gandel’s visualise.