Biography

 

Sam was born in 1978 and grew up near Vaughn, a small town in Central Victoria. He was raised on a 60 acre farm in a remote valley surrounded by National Park forests and without any electricity or town water. Sam continues to work from the family farm and over time he has established an off-grid solar-powered workshop full of his collection of rare objects, scientific equipment and recycled industrial materials.
Sam deliberately chose an alternative approach into sculpture, deciding to concentrate on sciences and engineering at Latrobe and RMIT Universities to gain the necessary skills and knowledge to allow him to design and build any sculpture he could imagine.
Sam is currently working as an industrial designer but has had a wide range experience many fields including private scientific research, research & development for an electronic engineering company, set design and prop building and for film & TV.

SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2013 ‘Transmogrification’, Australian Galleries, Smith Street, Melbourne
2010 ‘Adaptation’ Australian Galleries, Smith Street, Melbourne
2009 ‘Adaptation’ Robin Gibson Gallery, Sydney
2007  Robin Gibson Gallery, Sydney

GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2012 Lot19 Spring Sculpture Prize
2011 ‘Large exhibition of small works’, Australian Galleries, Roylston Street, Sydney
‘Large exhibition of small works’, Australian Galleries, Derby Street, Melbourne
2008 Sculpture 20, Robin Gibson Gallery, Sydney
The Young Ones, Robin Gibson Gallery, Sydney
2007 Sculpture 19, Robin Gibson Gallery, Sydney
2007 Sculpture By The Sea
2006 Sculpture 18, Robin Gibson Gallery, Sydney
2006 Four, Robin Gibson Gallery, Sydney
2005 Tonks Sculpture Prize – 1st, 2nd, 3rd Prizes
2003 Tonks Sculpture Prize – Encouragement Award
2002 Buda Historic Homestead, Castlemaine
2001 Tonks Sculpture Prize
1998 Kris Browning Gallery, Castlemaine
1996 Kris Browning Gallery, Castlemaine

AWARDS

2012 Tonks Sculpture Prize
2007 Sculpture By The Sea, Damon Courtenay Memorial Young Sculptor Prize
Clitheroe Foundation Emerging Artist Mentorship Program recipient
2005 Tonks Sculpture Prize – 3 Prizes
2003 Tonks Sculpture Prize – Encouragement Award

COMMISSIONS

2015 Hendrick’s Gin – Spectrum Now Cocktail Bike Bar
2015 The Bread Social kinetic light sculpture, Byron Bay
2014 Natimuk Small Town Transformation – Kinetic/Interactive sculpture
‘Grinderphone II’ – private commission
2013 ‘Variation’ sponsored by Hyundai for Sculpture by the Sea
‘10 Bike Generator’ for The Village Festival (Falls Festival) Lorne, VIC

JUDGING & WORKSHOPS

2014 Lot 19 Spring Sculpture Prize
2013 Castaways Sculpture Awards

PUBLICATIONS

2014 774 ABC Radio – Small Town Transformation Forum
2014 The Wimmera Mail Times –Natimuk’s Verj Project officially launches
2008 Mx Newspaper Sydney
2007 ABC ‘The Program’ web feature
ABC JJJ Arts Crew, radio interview
Sydney Morning Herald, Metro
Sydney Morning Herald, Open Gallery review
Central Magazine
Mx Newspaper Sydney
2005 Castlemaine Mail

 

 

The materials sculptor Sam Deal uses in his works are reliant on the essence and attitude instilled in the collected objects. Individually the objects remain inanimate shapes and forms, inert and without rationale. Yet when crafted and embodied into co-existing relationships, these very same objects burst forward as entities (occasionally anthropomorphic), speaking of their nature, edifying their purpose and revealing their intrinsic beauty and worth.

As an extension of this transmogrification, Deal’s sculptures encourage and reward the more curious observer who interacts with the piece. Their reward is the delight of becoming engaged in the elemental movement of various components of what is essentially a static form.

The mystery and magic of peculiar raw materials and unique objects begs Deal’s close inspection and keen exploration. Exposing the often remarkable and unseen inner workings and componentry of machinery inspires Deal to re-contextualise these objects and parts. As he says, “I rarely commence with a finished concept in mind. I much prefer being open to the creative process and the manner in which the objects naturally dictate how the piece evolves. Anything has potential to be used in a sculpture if it has a distinctive form or quality. I particularly enjoy altering their original function and transforming their existence.”

Embedding a unique personality into each work permits Deal to poignantly, and often humorously, confront pre-conceived ideas of what constitutes sculpture, particularly that which is static. The kinetic and driving energy that courses through the metallic veins and re-defined steel mechanisms reinforces the artistic desire to combine materials and kinetic elements in a different and stimulating way. It’s Deal’s homage to sculptural works that honour the inherent character and journey of objects and forms.

As Deal’s body of work has developed and progressed so has the range of intricacy, complexity, interaction and engagement. Although this confluence of slants demands greater artistic attention to design detail there always remains the compelling authority and sway of the individual parts and components in the completed constructions and adaptations. This is the significance of the creative process for Deal.

What becomes apparent is many works are influenced by his personality and personal circumstances. Growing up in the country without utilities and services meant existing with an awareness of his immediate environment (at aged just 14 he rigged up a solar system for his bedroom providing him with light, music and power for his electronic contraptions while his parents were still using gas lighting.) It is unsurprising that today his workshop is solar-powered; yet it was a decision centred on challenging himself to work with the environment, as an integral part of his creative practice, rather than to be politically correct or self-righteous. “Using solar power and re-cycling found objects and constantly challenges my resourcefulness, imagination, skills and working methods. I find this very rewarding in my practice and essential to the creative process.”

Mark Cowie
Sculptor
BA, MA, Dip Eng