Mela Cooke | Layla + Binks

Mela Cooke, Early mornings, 2020, bronze, each 70cm H.

Have you considered a road trip to Bundaberg to see the FOUND! Studio Dog! Exhibition & Art Trail this year? With restrictions easing in Queensland, and satellite exhibition venues in Brisbane, Maryborough and Hervey Bay to visit, September is a gorgeous time of year to #holidayherethisyear ! Roadmap to Recovery Road Trip – GO ! 😀

Outside the Hervey Bay Regional Gallery sit a small pack of bronze dingoes, the work of sculptor Mela Cooke. You can tell immediately that this artist has a long and accomplished approach to form, and her list of accolades is extensive. Mela also exhibits at Red Hill Gallery, and we’re so thrilled to be able to bring one of her sculptures to the central venue at Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery.

Mela has stunning images of finished pieces and works in progress on her instagram page here – I highly recommend a browse – and we can’t wait to see what the artist sends to us in August.

Mela, what is your art practice?
I’ve been sculpting for nearly 30 years and although I have worked in the past in marble, I now concentrate solely on sculpting in clay and casting in bronze.

Who are your studio companions?
My studio companions are Binks the Burmese kitten, who is 9 months old, and Layla, our English Pointer aged 10.

Layla is content to just lie around all day but Binks gets bored and occasionally jumps up and either puts her head into my bag of clay or attacks my tools as I’m working!

What are you working on in your studio now?
I have just finished a male swimmer and I’m currently working on a female holding a bird.

How has the current imposed isolation changed what you’re doing? Has something really surprised you during this transition to ‘artist in quarantine’?
The imposed isolation hasn’t changed my sculpting too much, as the foundries have remained open. All the galleries that keep my work closed for several weeks but some are starting to open again now, and they have all kept a good online presence.

Any special news about your art practice?
A major council commission—for which I was one of three sculptors shortlisted—has just been cancelled, so I suppose that is a sign of the current times!

(Ed: we hope some wonderful new project takes it’s place Mela, and we’re excited you can be part of the FOUND! Studio Dog | Exhibition + Art Trail)

Layla and Binks, monitoring the artist’s progress from the cushions.
Mela Cooke, Urban botanica, 2018, bronze, 100cm H.

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