The latest outbreak of coronavirus in Victoria nearly undid seven months of work for sculptor Andre Sardone.
The Mandurang-based steel artist and his partner Bridget Finch will unveil Steel Life at Dudley House this week - an exhibition featuring Sardone's steel artworks and Finch's nature photography.
But three weeks ago, Sardone's exhibition was facing postponement as COVID-19 cases hit Victoria.
"Three weeks ago I didn't know if there was going to be an exhibition," he said. "If the numbers had keep going any more, seven months of work would have been postponed which would have been disappointing. I kept going as if it was always going ahead. I learned to not stress about things I can't control."
Galleries closed and exhibiting opportunities dried last year as Victorian locked down to deal with a major virus out break. The stay-at-home directions gave Sardone a chance to keep busy creating.
"It was very good for me," he said. "We're here on 8.5 acres of bush. So to self isolate here is a nice place to do that. It gave me more time in the studio but the lack of places to exhibit was a downfall."
Sardone and Finch's exhibition came about from grants through the City of Greater Bendigo's Creative Recovery and the Artists on View programs.
It means Sardone will show two exhibitions at once at Dudley House - Shimmer, which will take over the Dudley House garden; and Steel Life, which he partners with Bridget on.
"(Bridget) has a background in environmental science and teaching," he said. "Since the lockdowns started, she has been going out to photograph the nature around here.
"She will go out for a couple of hours and stake the birds out. It has been a nice thing to do for her mental health as well as to get great photos.
"We thought her photos were a good fit considering I have made some birds (sculptures) from referencing her photos. It seemed like a natural collaboration. I can't wait to see it in the gallery space."
The combination makes it the biggest exhibition Sardone has had in four years.
Three weeks ago I didn't know if there was going to be an exhibition.Andre Sardone
"I have been working to this since I got the grants last year to use Dudley House," he sad. "It has been my main focus for seven months.
"Some of the work was made last year, so it is probably about 18 months' work all up."
Sardone has always used recycled materials for his sculptures but since his debut exhibition has refined his work.
"My works have changed quite a lot," he said. "Four years ago they were all components and identifiable things like gears and bolts but now I'm using more raw material and with new machinery I can cut shapes and bend metal to make curves. So the work becomes more refined. I have been greatly supported by businesses like Strathfieldsaye Recycling Yard and Sandhurst Steel Processing who help me with material."
Steel Life and Shimmer are on at Dudley House from June 19 to 27 from 10am to 4pm.
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