Floating Life 4/06 ~ 11/07

an archive

The public art of David Humphries


Here is where I had dinner last night and a few red wines, meaning I do feel a touch seedy this morning… But what a great night it was, excellent conversation going back thirty years and more. I took the bus out to Rosebery and entered David’s studio, greeted by Jacko the red-tailed black cockatoo flying freely through as wonderful an interior garden as you could imagine. The pictures don’t do it justice.

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David’s work is everywhere in Sydney, and beyond. Some of you will have seen Skygardens:

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The flower there is the waratah, an Australian protea, and the floral emblem of New South Wales.

David’s work goes well beyond Australia. For example, read Paved with passion in The San Diego Union-Tribune of May 14, 2006.

Known internationally for her fashion and textile designs, Zandra Rhodes also has designed tableware and linens, jewelry, etched-glass windows, opera sets and costumes – and now a beachfront terrazzo patio for her home in Del Mar…

Rhodes collaborated with Australian artist David Humphries, who is known for his terrazzo creations throughout Australia and at Rhodes’ Fashion & Textile Museum in London. After she created an abstract design on paper, Rhodes drew it on the concrete base with chalk and looked down on it from her upstairs balcony to get a perspective on how it worked.

Humphries worked out the final details on the computer, and they then cut the major shapes out of Styrofoam sheets to make a template to hold the terrazzo, a mix of stones or glass chips in portland cement.

Together they hand laid the terrazzo in a design that embodies the universe. In the pattern you can see the solar system, the Earth, rivers of water, and under the sea.

Or maybe it’s the four elements: air, water, earth, and fire (represented by spiky shapes that also represent the shadows of the New Zealand flax planted along the edges); or an echo of the rhythms of the sun, sand and sea.

On another level, it’s yin and yang, light and shadow…

Go to David Humphries’ site Public Art Squad for more.

Lately his most pressing current project in what is still a very busy life has been advocacy for the rights of the mentally ill and developmentally challenged, as his own sister has been in danger of falling through the many cracks in a system under which appropriate care has become increasingly hard to find. I may perhaps be saying more on this, as I have asked David to send me some details. This is one of the things we talked about last night.

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Written by Neil

September 28, 2006 at 8:32 am

2 Responses

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  1. What a fantastic post, Neil.

    Jim Belshaw

    September 28, 2006 at 9:18 am

  2. http://devonshirestreettunnel.blogspot.com/.
    forwarding for info
    could be a cool connection


    September 28, 2006 at 9:22 am

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