THE Gold Coast will this week play host to celebrated UK environmental artist Tony Plant as an exclusive commission by Bleach* Festival Director Louise Bezzina.
Programmed as part of Opera Australia and Bleach* Festival’s highly anticipated Opera on the Beach event, Plant will transform the Gold Coast’s Coolangatta and nearby beaches into sprawling contemporary canvases in the lead up to Opera on the Beach, starting this Thursday.
“When I first saw Tony’s work, I was mesmerised by the beauty and scale of his landscape drawings and his ability to transform the natural environment into gigantic works of art,” Bezzina said.
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“Tony is one of contemporary art’s most exciting talents, and his ephemeral sand drawings in particular are absolutely breathtaking.
“To host him here as part of the Opera on the Beach celebrations is a great coup for Queensland, and further serves to spotlight the Gold Coast’s stunning environment and iconic beach culture.”
The trip marks 30 years since Plant’s last visit to Australia in 1984, during which time he would sneak into various art colleges around the country pretending to be a student.
“I hitched across the country three times and just loved it,” Plant said. “I’ve been Googling the hell out of the place; I’m so looking forward to getting back.”
For more than 20 years, Plant has been making ‘temporary interventions and drawings in the landscape’, with numerous international festival and gallery exhibitions including London Short Film Festival, London Surf Film Festival, The ICA London, and last month’s Ocean Film Festival in Australia.
The beauty of his art is fleeting, however, lasting only a few hours before nature takes its course.
“I make pieces that I absolutely understand are going to be gone in a couple of hours. When people ask what it’s like to see my work washed away, I don’t see it like that. They are created in the understanding that they will be taken away and won’t last very long.”
“If I had a lawnmower and a stately home, I’m going to be there. If I had a skidoo and a couple of hectares of snow, I’d be on that. If I’ve got a jet ski and a flat sea I’ll be using that,” Plant said.
Plant’s Gold Coast visit includes free public showings and a tailor-made community enrichment program that includes meet-the-artist sessions and beach-art workshops.
For more information, visit bleachfestival.com.au