Greg Johns – WestConnex Commission

In News August 19, 2020

These awe inspiring photographs show Greg Johns’ monumental work in Corten steel being installed in its new location along the WestConnex’s new M5 corridor in Sydney.

‘Canal to Creek’ is a program of public artworks curated by Newtown consultancy Cultural Capital in partnership with WestConnex. The commissioned works aim to activate new and existing parklands between St Peters and Beverly Hills through sculptures, artist-designed playgrounds, murals and immersive lighting installations.
“This is a world-class public art program, which will provide visitors with a cultural link to new open spaces along the New M5 corridor and highlight the Aboriginal and industrial history of the area,” Andrew Head, WestConnex CEO said. “The artists were selected through a comprehensive and rigorous assessment process undertaken in consultation with local councils and all bring a unique perspective to the program.”

Near The Centre (There Is Music) by Greg Johns is a compelling meditation on place, people and history. The work features a large central piece surrounded by an installation of ten figures known as The Observers.

The central four metre high mandala is a fractal form, a simple pattern that repeats over and over, becoming infinitely complex and never-ending. Artists have been making fractal patterns for many centuries and across many cultures. It is also a phenomenon that exists throughout nature: trees, rivers, clouds, hurricanes and many other organic systems are all fractal forms. Johns uses this patterning to connect to the generative forces of nature, older belief systems, and contemporary physics and philosophy, to suggest a universal interconnectedness.

As one moves around the central Corten steel sculpture, the internal patterns change dramatically to create a dynamic, sensory experience. This heroic scale is contrasted with the intimate, human scale experience of The Observers. Embedded in these figures is a hybrid of cultural references that influence Johns’ practice: the Australian landscape, Indigenous art and European figurative sculpture.

Westconnex M8 Commission - Sydney - Greg Johns 4IMG_3533Images: Greg Johns, Near the Centre (There is Music) and The Observers. Courtesy of the artist.