Paddock art is a delicate balance

Bernie O’Gorman and ‘A Delicate Balance’ - a large sculpture creating quite a stir on the road in to Mullumbimby.
Bernie O’Gorman and ‘A Delicate Balance’ - a large sculpture creating quite a stir on the road in to Mullumbimby.
Paddocks and cows are all part of the scenery for motorists driving in and out of Mullumbimby, but last Thursday everyone did a double take at something that was very definitely not something four-footed doing its evening bovine thing in the roadside paddock.

‘A Delicate Balance’ is one-and-a-half-tonnes of turtle upside down on a globe, the work of local sculptor Bernie O’Gorman, one that had sat in galleries in Melbourne and country Victoria until two months ago when Bernie went down to pick it up.

“I gave it a bit of a facelift, spruced it up, then just put it in the paddock,” he said.

The paddock seemed an obvious place to display the large sculpture, for apart from the helpful fact that he knows the farmer, it was all down to exposure.

“It’s in a place where everyone can have a look,” he said.

“I think everyone has the right to art, but not everyone is exposed to it.

“If it gets people thinking about something, then that’s good.”

‘A Delicate Balance’ comes with a strong message.

“The turtle is on its back, in a vulnerable position,” explained Bernie, “in a state of helplessness.

“Humans have the overall responsibility to Earth and the animals that occupy it, to get the balance right, otherwise it will topple over and the animals will become extinct.”

And while Bernie is drawn to create works that carry a message, he does not describe himself as any kind of “radical activist”.

“It’s just common sense to look after things,” he said, “and we have to avoid doing extreme things that put animals in jeopardy.”

The large sculpture also gives a whole new meaning to the concept of working late at the office – Bernie is a welder by trade, and ‘A Delicate Balance’ was constructed entirely by staying back after work, about 1000 hours in total, he estimates.

It will stay in the paddock next to the cows until it finds a new home, since it is now up for sale.
Ideally, Bernie would like to see a permanent home that was somewhere public, where people could see it.

Meanwhile, interested motorists are invited to park the car, switch off the ignition and walk up to the fence for a closer look.

For an even closer look, Bernie can be contacted on 0408 104 014.

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