© Bert Flugelman / licensed by Viscopy 2004.
4m x 8m
"Gateway to Mount Keira" or as it is also known "Wave" is the culmination to date of Flugelman's use of the wave shape in his art since 1973. Originally the investigation into the wave shape was done through his painting and the wave form was used as a way of relating the landscape to the figure, or wave. In an exhibition in1973 Flugelman also exhibited a maquette of the "wave" form as a maquette for a large public sculpture. The wave shape itself could be seen as a continuum from kinetic works that Flugelman was making around the same time with the Optronic-Kinetics group, an avant-garde trio consisting of Flugelmann, Jim McDonald and David Smith. There work often took the form of enviroments or happenings and is typical of a lot of conceptual art that was being made during the early 1970's. Many works by the Opter-Kinetic group utilised sound and movement and the wave form may be a reference to sound waves as registered on sonar. It also is more literally a reference to waves in the ocean but simplified and abstracted to the extreme.
Flugelman exhibited the "Wave" paintings around the early seventies in Adelaide and it is interesting to look at the poster for the exhibition. It features Flugelman standing underneath the wave form which has been taken from a photograph of the maquette which then has a painting superimposed over the top and it literally is pre-empting the sculpture that would be made almost 10 years later.
"Wave", like "Winged Figure - Lawrence Hargrave Memorial" was also fabricated at BHP in Port Kembla and Newcastle using pipe bending technology that was then quite new to the country. This mix of Science, industrial technology and art is an aspect of all of Flugelman's major outdoor sculptures.
"Gateway to Mount Keira" is the last work to date using the wave form and is a more than an adequate summation of what Flugelman was trying to achieve with it in his painting. Even the rough polish on the surface is a substitute for the brush marks on a canvas. It is both a framing device, it's monumental scale frames the landscape through it's negative space and it is a part of the landscape itself, resolving the disparity betwen figure and ground.