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Caleb Barnes

Lithgow High School



Weathered copper sheet, timber

They are the curious, sometimes frightening, sometimes humorous creatures that inhabit Gothic architecture. And they are now making appearances in 21st century buildings. If Sydney Harbour Bridge had a gargoyle, it may look like this.

My artmaking practice has been influenced by the study and interpretation of gargoyles on Notre Dame Cathedral.

Marker's Commentary

Whimsical and humorous, the gargoyle sits with a level of complacency and obedience on its stool pedestal, rather like the family dog. Unlike its medieval and Gothic ancestors it does not frighten audiences but rather evokes a level of compassion with its slouched, subservient demeanour. It’s guarding and protecting is not of an actual building but alludes to the architecture and a romantic memory of grand churches, specifically Notre Dame Cathedral. Sheets of copper have been cut, riveted and securely hinged to create the 3D form of this pagan, dragon-like animal. A visually enticing oxidised surface with its characteristic pale green patina drips and pools on the surface. It reflects the functional purpose of a gargoyle to divert water and adds a further sense of the forlorn. The solid construction of the stool with its horizontal cross members and perpetual rust, cleverly replicates elements of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Like its predecessors the gargoyle creates a level of surprise but it is mixed with the knowledge that it will never serve a gargoyle function on the Sydney Harbour Bridge, except in the imagination.