Bidding war erupts at art event

By Joseph Aldridge

The most hotly contested artwork of the Craig's Investment Partners' Sculpture Symposium has been sold to a Tauranga organisation and will be on public display soon.

Going by the name of Syncronicity, the sculpture fetched the highest price of the day at yesterday's auction - selling to Te Puna Quarry Park for $4000.

In an intense bidding war, Park Society president Ian Cross was finally able to outbid his rivals and lay claim to the piece.

Crafted by Taranaki artist Steve Molloy, Syncronicity caught Mr Cross's eye earlier in the week.

"We're always on the lookout for a nice piece of artwork and we came down and saw this a couple of days ago and I got several other members of the committee to come down and they all loved it."

The piece was quite different from other artworks displayed at the quarry park and society members already had an idea of where it will be placed.

"We have a place where we thought it would be beautiful for people to look through it down to the harbour with Mayor Island in the background.

That will be just perfect."

Artist Steve Molloy had intended to sculpt stone last week but his initial efforts "just didn't do it", so he went along to NZ Profiles where he was able to fish some scrap metal out of the bin.

"It's a repetitive geometry theme that I'm going for. It's the first of my metalwork and I'm really going to start pushing the metalwork now."

Mr Molloy said the symposium's organisers had done a phenomenal job.

"The location, being able to create right here on the waterfront, was a blessing. Having all the public being able to come through and see it, that's what educates people in art and sculpture and what we do."

"On a whole this symposium is up there with one of the best of New Zealand symposiums. We've done a lot of symposiums around New Zealand and I'll always come to this one."

Event co-ordinator Rex O'Brien said the symposium had brought together 15 sculptors - half of them Western Bay of Plenty locals and half from around the country.

"All the works were for sale today and some have sold through auction and others through private negotiation after the auction," Mr O'Brien said.

"As far as the space goes, it's been brilliant what the Tauranga council has done with this space. It's worked out really well and brought people down to the waterfront."

The symposium, running for the first time this year, had been a great success and would hopefully become a regular part of the Garden and Art Festival, Mr O'Brien said.

Auctioneer Rodney Fong, of Ray White Tauranga, said the gathered crowd had been a little bit reserved but had put in strong bids on the most popular pieces.

"They're one-offs, it's not like you can go and buy something like that at Mitre 10 where there's 50,000 of them being produced in China," he said.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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