Britt Mikkelsen

Community Arts & Cultural Development

Veiled – for Sculpture by the Sea

”Veiled” is a sculpture currently under construction for the Sculpture by the Sea Cottesloe exhibition in March 2019. The work deals with issues of female identity and epitomises my practice as a female sculptor.

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‘Veiled’ is a large 2.3m aluminium sculpture currently under construction for the Sculpture by the Sea exhibition in Cottesloe in early March. The work portrays a woman’s veiled face, fabricated in welded aluminium extrusion, in a repetitive lace-like pattern.

From the front a veiled face shrouded by folded fabric is seen, but walk behind the sculpture and you will see not the woman, but only the impression of her face in the lace, a reminder of what she was. As such the viewer may walk into the sculpture, look through the lace and see the world through her eyes.

The piece deals with issues of female identity, but moreover for me as a sculptor, it pushes a hard industrial material such aluminium in new ways. The challenge is to create a feminine, organic sculpture, a work that is beautiful but at the same time robust.

The project is progressing well, except for the tendinitis that I have developed from repetitive angle grinding that is threatening to derail the project.

Permanent outdoor sculptures are driven by the need for longevity and robustness. As such metals are often the ‘go to’ material choice. However with heavy, unyielding materials such as aluminium, feminine and organic forms are hard to create.

As an artist I have spent the last five years exploring how industrial materials can be used to create soft, organic and feminine forms and yet still be able to withstand the rigours of permanent outdoor display.

As a maker of such forms, (as are many of my female colleagues) this is my challenge. This work for Sculpture by the Sea will be the culmination of five years of research and discovery. My hope is that this work changes perceptions of what is possible with these materials.

I accounted for most things in this project, however repetitive angle grinding has taken its toll on my wrists and as such I fear that I can’t complete this project without the help of an assistant in the dying weeks. I am well into the artwork’s construction, it is hard grueling and repetitive work with over 300 hours of hand grinding being completed to this date. However with tendinitis threatening the completion of the work I am asking for $4800 to help pay for an assistant during these last weeks of the project. It would be a shame if the project is hindered for this reason.

Should this artwork be sold and find a home, then that is fantastic. Should it not, I will be entering it into Sculpture by the Sea Bondi.

The work deals with issues that are highly relevant today and endeavours to push materials to new levels, and after all that is what art should do.

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Britt Mikkelsen is an emerging artist who graduated from Curtin University with a Bachelor of Arts (Sculpture) in 1993. She has recently revisited her practice after a 15 year hiatus exhibiting for the first time at Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe in 2015. She has since exhibited a further four times at Sculpture by the Sea in Cottesloe and also at Bondi. In 2017 she received the Parker’s Juices Emerging artist subsidy at Bondi and the highly respected Helen Lempriere Scholarship for an emerging artist in 2018.

Britt strives to create sculptures that blur the boundaries of materials. She actively employs industrial materials to create feminine and organic works, thereby defying these material’s normal parameters.

Britt has completed numerous public artworks, including works for the Cities of Melville, Stirling and Cockburn and was an invited artist at the inaugural Biennale of Australian Art in Ballarat 2018. Her work is held in many private collections in Australia and overseas and she is currently represented by the Studio gallery in Yallingup.

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Kim Kemp

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Stuart McMillan

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Aliesha Mafrici

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Lucy Bowes

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Marco Bang Mikkelsen

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Klara Starr

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Pia Hovmand

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Tanja Hansen-Muldoon

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Demelza Wheatcroft

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Sue Leeming Artist

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