Work: Water Into Wine
Christine Hellyar’s latest work Water into Wine is a bronze amphora in silhouette. The two dimensional amphora becomes three dimensional at the mouth as four branches of grape vine curl out of the outline of the vessel. The grape leaves are naturalistic and when viewed from a privileged viewpoint the tendrils form a W shape.
The work references the age-old European tradition of placing vases and sculpture as decorative objects in gardens and parklands. The scale of Hellyar’s piece elevates it beyond the merely decorative however. This is encouraged by the way the vessel ‘borrows’ the landscape, visually filling it with water or land depending on the view. The work is intended to connect the two principal aspects of the Brick Bay enterprise, its viticulture and the arts initiative. The title connects to the biblical wedding at Cana, to the process of wine making and links to the activities and events in the Glass House pavilion at Brick Bay. Beyond this the blue patina echoes the sky and the water and the angle and lines of the work reflect surrounding movement and activity.
Water into Wine continues Christine Hellyar’s on-going exploration of silhouette, space and the reduction of mass to line in three dimensional form. Coupled with this is her concern for the natural environment, one that she held long before such matters became a fashionable commodity. Christine Hellyar was one of the first artists in New Zealand to experiment with casting natural foliage and vegetation in bronze. In response to this need, a unique casting technique was developed by one of the country’s leading artistic bronze foundries. Hellyar’s work at Brick Bay exemplifies the characteristics that have distinguished her place in the history of outdoor sculpture in New Zealand.