Review / Sharing an artistic passion for the environment

Craft / “Pamela Griffith & Silvio Apponyi”. At Bungendore Wood Works Gallery until December 10. Reviewed by MEREDITH HINCHLIFFE

At the Bungendore Wood Works Gallery… carvings by Silvio Apponyi and painting by Pamela Griffith

PAMELA Griffith and Silvio Apponyi share a passion for the environment and despair for the destruction humans are causing.

Both are also two of the longest-standing artists at Bungendore Wood Works Gallery. The gallery celebrates its 35th year in 2018 and this exhibition is the first leading up to September/October 2018 when the major celebratory exhibition will be presented.

Each artist has a complete body of work within the exhibition: Silvio Apponyi’s is titled “Stone-Wood-Bronze”, describing the materials he has used, while the title of Pamela Griffith’s exhibit is “Teeming With Life – Care for Wetlands”.

Apponyi is consummate artist. I was particularly impressed with his ability to work with the character of the wood he used. In “Lorikeet”, in red cedar, he has used the vertical grain of the wood to give an impression of the feathers on the bird’s breast. The markings on the timber have been adapted to create wings, with just a tiny amount of carving to delineate the wing tips.

Through his expert carving skills, he captures the majestic stance of this bird, and he captures the elusive nature of the animals. Each has a personality and is understated.

In this exhibition Apponyi is using deer antlers to carve miniature works that are similar to netsuke – small and delicate and finely carved. Several are inlaid with buffalo horn, highlighting their eyes.

This artist makes casts for his bronze sculptures from the carved wooden originals. They lose nothing of the detail, other than the colours and character of the timber.

Apponyi knows his timbers, and he also knows the wildlife. The haptic bronze works, in particular, are smooth and expressive.

Pamela Griffiths works in watercolour, gouache, acrylic and oil. She is a master of these mediums – and is also a consummate printmaker. This group of works captures the flight of large water birds including brolgas, magpie geese, various species of ducks, ibis and others. They are realistic and viewers can almost hear the beating of their wings and their calls to each other. These are realistic, in keeping with Apponyi’s works.

I found other works less successful, such as “Monarch Butterfly” and “Freshwater Turtle”.

Many artists demonstrate their concern for the environment through their art. Their work serves a dual purpose, and it is to be hoped that by expressing their concern that these and other artists create a similar passion in their viewers for what we apparently so easily discard.

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