Geoffrey Bartlett – Maribyrnong Commission

In News April 28, 2021

Installation is currently underway of a major commission by Geoffrey Barlett for the Maribyrnong River. Geoffrey shares with us his concepts and images for the 11 meter sculpture, which is due to be completed in July.

Image above: maquette

Concept rationale

The Maribyrnong River has a long history of providing a maritime service. It is my intention to produce a work that pays homage to this once vital service.

The artwork Maribyrnong refers to sailing vessels that plied their trade along the river. The sails seem swept along with the wind, whilst the rigging (the black beams) support those sails. Here these forms appear to draw the energy of the wind to provide its river passage. It makes direct connections to the area’s maritime past, whilst communicating through its contemporary aesthetic to the area’s new and dynamic future.

Maribyrnong offers different viewing information from all angles and is intended to be seen in different aspects from Hopkins Street, Joseph Road, the pathway leading down to the river as well as the river itself. It has often been an important aspect of my work to create sculptures that appear to move, as if between A and B. A sense of movement that prevents the sculpture from looking static and still. Perforations will be made to the arc-shaped panel at top of work to infer the herringbone method of shipbuilding.

Materials, colours

The materials to be used for the construction are steel for the lower section (plinth) and also for the upper section of the sculpture.

The artwork will be painted using an industrial D & M Fluoropolymer coating (with an isocyanate hardener) with excellent colour retention and heat resistance up to 120 degrees (dry heat).

This product is a unique and environmentally friendly two-pack coating. It provides excellent chemical resistance, weathering resistance, UV resistance and anti-graffiti properties. The paint also has very good resistance to weathering in salt atmosphere locations and is resistant to fading. A satin coating with a 30 +/- 5%, gloss is preferred to minimise glare.

Manufacturing methods

The sculpture will be 11 meters tall, including the steel plinth base, and built of steel and copper for the upper sections of the work. Plinth and upper sculpture will take 12 weeks to fabricate, then will be transported from fabricator, Webb Welding to painter for industrial painting and coating. The work will be sand blasted and painted in industrial coatings to provide a long lasting surface. The copper section will remain unpainted. The paint surface is difficult to scratch; the required 20-year duration before recoating will easily be met.

Images above: Concept drawings