Bega artist Ulan Murray has been invited to exhibit his intricate copper tree sculptures at the World Polo Championship Art Exhibition in Sydney this month.
From October 21 to 29 the exhibition, featuring 152 artworks from 91 artists, will run in conjunction with the World Polo Championship, held at the Sydney Polo Club in Richmond.
A variety of sculptural forms and two-dimensional works will be exhibited indoors, and large sculptures like Mr Murray’s will be displayed outside in an open-air gallery.
The outdoor setting compliments Mr Murray’s art, which is inspired by organic, natural forms.
To create his copper trees, Mr Murray draws upon his past experience in horticulture and biology.
“I’m working from my memory and the images I have in my mind,” he said.
“I’d like people to think more about what they don’t see, to appreciate a whole world underground that we don’t see.”
Mr Murray said his work represents the equilibrium between the foliage and the root system of the tree.
The structures are formed from copper, giving them their unique colour and texture. With a pair of pliers in each hand, Mr Murray bends and twists the malleable material into form.
As the sculptures begin to take shape, their personalities do too.
“Because I work with them for such a long time, I create a narrative for them as they grow,” Mr Murray said.
“The way they take shape adds to their personality, sometimes I can control that and other times the sculpture will determine its own direction.”
In a nod to his previous horticultural career, Mr Murray gives titles each sculpture in Latin.
His three works included in the World Polo Championship Art Exhibition are ‘Lignum Errantia’, meaning wandering tree, ‘Parva Ligno’, meaning little tree and ‘Mater Ligno’, or mother tree.
On Monday, he will travel to Sydney to install his works. The exhibition is curated by artist Selina Hitches and artists are in the running to win a share of $14,000 in prizes, including a first prize of $7,000 through to four highly commended awards of $500.
Mr Murray caught national attention with his work as a finalist in the 2015 Wynne Prize. He has won over 10 art prizes in the last year, most recently the Scientist’s Choice Award for the Waterhouse Art Prize.