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9.500 x 11.750 x 11.000 inches
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Sculpture - Bronze
A few years ago I did a series of six pen and ink drawings depicting Colonial life in New Zealand at the turn of last century. One of these studies was of an old time gold panner. I knew at the time this was an ideal subject for a bronze sculpture.
To do the photography and research for the original drawing I travelled to Alexandra, in the Otago region of the South Island of New Zealand. There I met Bill Tinker who was perfect as my model for the assignment. Bill had himself been working a claim up until a few months before I met him. He was a real cowboy and mentioned the type of work he had done like hanging from a rope beneath a helicopter to tend a buoy in the middle of one of the Sounds. One of his photos he proudly showed me was of his digger upended over the edge of the pit of his claim where he had pushed it's limits just a bit too far. Bill, by now in his sixties, was running the local Youth Hostel as well as a jet boat tourist service to visit some of the old gold digging sites. We spent a day or so looking around as well as borrowing some "authentic" garb from the local amateur theatre to make him look the part.
The shots we took the next day on the banks of the Clutha River. Bill actually found a small vein of gold bearing black sand only a few feet back from the water, and while I stood on a tiny rock only inches above two hundred tons per minute of fast flowing river to do the shoot, Bill on the edge of the river in a quiet little spot, actually panned a few grains of gold. That same spot is now submerged beneath the waters of Lake Dunstan, newly formed by the Clyde Dam.
With all the material for the study gathered, I then spent long hours creating the sculpture in black wax over a wire frame.
At the foundry where the bronzes are cast, four moulds are employed to produce the one finished piece. They are: one for the figure, one for the rocks, one for the pan, and even one for the laces hanging from the panner's right boot.
This is a limited edition of 100 numbered and signed castings.
For more information please visit my web site: www.brianmoore.co.nz
June 9th, 2010
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