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The night after Susan Reddrop delivered her work to the MARS Gallery for this exhibition, she delivered another precious gift to the world.  That night, her daughter was born at home with the help of a supportive team.

Two days later she was at the opening, glowing and holding her precious bundle.  How appropriate given the theme of her exhibition. “Urge”.  The urge to create. The urge to create life.  The urge to create art. The theme is embodied in glass shapes depicting women in the midst of childbirth, at the height of their power. The theme is reiterated in Max Milne’s photographs which accompany the sculptures. In these photographs, Susan naked and very pregnant, creates sculptural shapes against Montsalvat backdrops.  Montsalvat is rich with references to sculpture and creativity.  It’s sculptural legacy through the work of Matcham Skipper and others is well documented here and other places.  The urge to create was woven into the buildings and grounds from it’s beginnings many decades ago.

Where Susan’s sculptures have a monumental timeless quality, the photographs are anchored in the past and the present.

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Susan has worked in her studio at Montsalvat for long enough to make some very strong connections with that community.  They were out in numbers to support her. From Morag Fraser, Chair of the Board, Rob Hauser CEO, Sigmund Jorgensen son of Justus Jorgensen, to August Skipper, grandson of Matcham Skipper.  There was a lot of great energy present in the room.

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There’s a beautiful reference to Artemis the goddess of childbirth in the naming of the pieces.  Artemis 1-12. 

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The range of colour in the glass, blues, greens and mauves, is deliberately on the calm end of the colour spectrum.

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Robert Lindsay, Director of the McClelland Gallery and Sculpture Park, opened the exhibition.

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Max Milne and Susan Reddrop amongst their work last night.

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Thank you so much to Susan for reminding me to celebrate women’s ability to create life and art.  

MARS Gallery is at 418 Bay Street Port Melbourne.  The exhibition runs until 29th May 2011 and includes the work of Jud Wimhurst, “WARFAREWEAR” and Julie Collins and Derek John, “Messages to the World”.

Susan Reddrop can be contacted via her website.