- Norma Redpath
- Horizontal Span
- bronze, edition 1/3
- 8.8 x 20 cm
centre: NR 1/3 66
copyright the Estate of the Artist, Courtesy Charles Nodrum Gallery
The Estate of the Artist
Norma Redpath, Rudy Komon Gallery, Woollahra, Sydney, 15 March - 4 April 1970, catalogue no. 11
Gordon Thomson, An overall study of the work of Norma Redpath and in particular the years 1960 to 1970, Rudy Komon Gallery, Sydney, 1970, illus. p. 36
Norma Redpath’s talent as a sculptor was recognised early, being invited to join the Victorian Sculptors’ Society whilst still a student at RMIT, a group she regularly exhibited with and served on the council, including as vice-president. She found a lack of sculptural tradition lacking in Australia and focussed on creating her own sculptural language, looking at organic shapes and breaking these down into their base elements before reforming into her own vision. Travels in Europe and studies in Italy in particular, married her efforts with the influences of tradition and links between sculpture and architecture. Her early work was in wood and displayed her originality and sense of form and balance. In 1958 she was awarded the commission for the Baillieu Library and in 1961 awarded the Mildura Prize for sculpture as well as the Italian Government Travelling Scholarship. Studies in Milan at the Academia di Belle Arti di Brera, exposed her to bronze casting and the long tradition of foundry studios.
Redpath was drawn to the expressive possibilities of bronze and a rush of ideas flowed leading to her acclaimed exhibition at Gallery A, Melbourne in 1963. Many works were smaller scale bronzetti, but rather than studies for larger works these were important works, fully considered and resolved, created in their own right. As a result, as Thompson describes, the sculptures hold the power and presence of great sculptures, only reduced; the works “bursting with a power quite disproportionate to their size.” The success of the exhibition led to a great number of significant commissions including the Treasury Fountain, Canberra; bronze reliefs for BP Australia and the coat of arms adorning the National Gallery of Victoria, among others.
Redpath’s work shows a concern for dynamic form, with a rhythm and balance between mass and void and a play of light and dark within the shape itself but also in the bronze patina.
Redpath was awarded an OBE in 1970 and her work is represented in the National Gallery of Australia; National Gallery of Victoria; Art Gallery of New South Wales; Art Gallery of Western Australia; Reserve Bank of Australia; Melbourne University as well as corporate and private collections.