Matthew Harding, Phyllotaxis 2002-2003, spun mirror-polished stainless steel (Detail)
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Tim WETHERELL | Someone Else's Children

Great Britain 1962
Australia from 1990
Someone Else's Children 2002
plaster, paper, grass, earth, wood, synthetic grass
120 (h) x 150 (w) x 150 (d) cm
VIEW: Artist's Statement |

I believe that my fascination with Romantic and Neoclassical sculpture stems from my childhood, when I was occasionally taken on school excursions to various stately homes around England. Blissfully unaware of the inherent symbolism and inferred sense of social hierarchy contained in the artworks, I stared wide-eyed at what to me at the time was a completely different world to mine, to the rows of terrace houses in my home town. With a child like naivety, I imagined that the world portrayed in Romantic art actually existed somewhere, and was of course preferable to that in which I lived on a day-to-day basis. An educated adult perspective is that there is, of course, only one world and one reality but within the minds of different people exist numerous different perceptions. In science, our aim is to see objective reality with no prejudice, but as human beings it is only our personal inner reality, with all its inherent distortions, that is truly meaningful.

My current body of work aims to explore these different perceptions of reality. As a vehicle for this I model Neoclassical-style figures and patina their surfaces with digital images or other contemporary materials. The forms present a Romantic, idealised view of the world. The surface depicts a colder, more contemporary perspective on the same subject matter.

Someone Else’s Children is a piece about the differing perceptions and experiences of children in different parts of the world. The work comprises a group of child figures, modelled in romantic style, with a wheat pattern over their surface. One child, with her hands full of wheat grains, stands on grass behind a neat picket fence. The others are empty-handed and wear bird masks reminiscent of those worn in Medieval Europe during the plagues. The sweetness of the forms is contrasted with the macabre masks and barren earth, which hint at the stark reality that a large proportion of the children in the world endure famine, drought and disease.

Tim Wetherell, November 2002

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