There's something a little uncomfortable about looking at sculpture sometimes. Or any art, for that matter. It's the moment in-between thinking, "What the hell is that?" and getting some sort of understanding of what it is that you're looking at which can make you awfully uncomfortable if you let it.
But if you are willing to potentially feel like a nincompoop, and if you're willing to be cool with not always understanding what you're looking at, then looking at art can be more than fun. The recognition that comes when the lens focuses and you see (maybe) what the artist was getting at is worth all the discomfort in the world to those who love looking at art. It's the rush of the new ~ like you're in a little land of discovery all your own when you have that fresh feeling of seeing something new for the first time. Or ~ way better ~ seeing something you have known for a very long time with a sudden brand new perspective, from a new angle. This is the way things were constantly when we were kids and learning new things every single day ~ although, if we were lucky, a *squidge* less self-conscious than we are now.
And anyway, even if you don't know what the hell you're looking at, that's alright. Some art doesn't seem to (or need to) mean much at all. Some leaves you cold and others in raptures. But by the nature of its form, sculpture is so often about strong ideas ... and anyway, if you really want to know what the hell you're looking at, each piece has a blurb from its maker telling you a little about what their intentions were in making it.
Montalto Vineyard and Olive Grove is in the pretty surrounds of Red Hill, next door to Dromana, in the Mornington Peninsula. It's about an hour's drive from Melbourne but it's worth the time spent travelling. This place is pretty huge, with a restaurant and a cafe (fed by their own kitchen gardens) surrounding a rolling expanse of grapevines, olive groves, gardens full of fruit, vegetables, nuts and roses. It is all rather beautiful, with an expansive feel.
So what better place to feature a sculpture exhibition? Dotted amongst the groves and along pathways and in clearings and fields are some of the sculptures that went in to make up the 2013 Montalto Sculpture Prize, and also sculptures from their permanent collection.
'Eddy' by Christabel Wrigley - exciting and scary, turbulent nature
The prize has been running since 2005, when the owners, John and Wendy Mitchell, wished to combine one of their loves ~ art ~ into the love for nature that is evident in the space they began creating at Montalto eight years before. The result is a gorgeous experience for sculpture lovers - and a $30,000 prize for the yearly winner.
You can see the winning sculpture - Abundance by Frederick White, and all the other environmental and sustainability-themed pieces at Montalto until 28th April.