This morning I spent a precious hour with Inge King at her Warrandyte home. At 92, she is still very much in demand. Stephen Reynolds, photographer for the Warrandyte Diary was busy taking pics of Inge in her studio when I arrived. She’s working on her next exhibition in September.
I first saw Inge’s home several weeks ago at the Robin Boyd Foundation Open House Day in Warrandyte. Imagine my delight on entering the garden and seeing her distinctive sculptures. With heart racing and camera clicking I decided that I would have to meet her. With the assistance of the Robin Boyd Foundation, a second visit was arranged to do just that.
Inge and Grahame King commissioned Robin Boyd to design this home in the early 1950’s. Boyd was fascinated by the project. The original plan included a studio and a large open plan living, kitchen and dining area. The trademark Robin Boyd design principles are there. Site specific… a plethora of North facing windows allow the light and trees into the home and a stone wall (from local stone) on the street side creates privacy. Client specific… both clients are artists, so studio space was just as important as the living space. Later Grahame turned Boyd’s original plan for children’s bedrooms into a second studio. Thus, two enormous studios bookend the home. One for Inge and one for Grahame. From these studios they both made an indelible name in the Australian art world. Grahame as a teacher and printmaker and Inge as a sculptor.
The living area is dotted with art and memorabilia collected over many years. The eye of the artist is evident in every carefully arranged vignette.
In the original plan, this area (below) was intended as a painting platform. In earlier times it was used as a dance floor for parties. Today it provides a perfect place to display ceramics, basketware and pieces from all over the world.
Then of course there are the sculptures in the garden. Aaah the sculptures! You will immediately see the similarities with the sculpture titled “Rings of Saturn”, that sits magnificently in the grounds of Heide. In Inge’s own words….
“If my sculpture is outdoors or in the public domain I like to arouse peoples curiosity to explore the work. Multidimensional objects look different from every angle.” From an interview by Zara Stanhope- Inge King: Playing Seriously for Artlink Volume 26, No 4, 2006
They work for me…I was drawn to move around to every side of the sculptures, to look into the middle, to look from underneath and to look through. The taller sculptures create frames for the bush beyond. I enjoyed the different shapes and combinations of shapes every angle provided.
Looking through these sculptures I was reminded of Inge’s intention to create outdoor sculptures that “conquer the landscape”. From an interview by Zara Stanhope- Inge King: Playing Seriously for Artlink Volume 26, No 4, 2006
Sitting with Inge over a cup of tea in her courtyard, I felt in awe of her ongoing achievements. I also felt bathed in her warmth…her bright eyes give away a giant intellect, still deeply curious about the world in general and art in particular.
I can only hope that at 92, I’ll still be looking for that next blog and like Inge King, engaging with the world in a meaningful way.
The full interview with Inge King, by Zara Stanhope, published in Artlink is well worth the read. If you would like to check out pictures and information about Inge’s public sculptures, click on this link.
My sincerest thanks to Inge for meeting with me, providing me with a memorable experience of her work and allowing me to take photos in the interior of her home.
My thanks also to the Robin Boyd Foundation for arranging the meeting.