In a secluded bushland shed just out of Gingin, sparks are flying as artist Geoff Overheu works on the final stage of his latest artwork, Final Approach. It’s a piece he has created in collaboration with pilots from the Beverly Soaring Society – a 1950’s Blanik glider whose last journey will see it poised to plummet into the ocean at Cottesloe art exhibition, Sculptures by the Sea.
The once state-of-the-art glider, bought for one dollar, has been morphed into a striking sculpture by Geoff and his fellow pilots from the gliding club who have cut, welded and reshaped the aircraft over a series of
“We have changed the wing configuration and twisted the fuselage up and put the whole thing on a Corinthian plinth heading out to sea,” explains Geoff.
“My work has always been about modernism, the demise of something,” he explains. And his latest piece is no exception: “It’s heading out to sea, running out of energy I suppose.”
Former farmer Geoff has been practising as an artist for around 14 years, although he says he always had the desire to draw and create. He studied art at high school – but the dubious honour of being the only student ever failed by then art teacher Bob Juniper during his time at Guildford Grammar School wasn’t promising. Geoff returned to the family farm at Dalwallinu, farming wheat and sheep for many years before moving into cattle – “I was sick of all the chemicals!” he says. He founded the state’s first free range chicken farm in Bindoon before moving to Jarrah Downs in Gingin – the picturesque property he now shares with his wife Frances.
After a stint studying art through night school at Central TAFE, Perth, Geoff’s art career continued on serendipitous journey many artists could only dream of. His work has been exhibited all over Australia, reaping a bounty of prestigious awards, and in 2014 he was invited to show his sculptural oil paint work at Intelligentsia Gallery in Beijing after a 3-month residency in China.
In 2016 Geoff was a finalist in the Bankwest Art Prize with a piece entitled Ark 2016, An elaborate and ornate work which examined the insignificant, Ark featured a range of beautiful bronze insects brought to life in a twirling spire.
“Bronze is a tough medium but it has a nice history,” he says.
“So much modern art these days is three bricks, a coffee cup and three pages of theory – a lot of the old arts are dying,” he says, admitting that he used to feel intimidated by modernist theory.
“You have to have generosity to the viewer,” he says, “Art just is what it is – we all interpret objects differently.”
You can see Geoff’s collaborative work, Final Approach, along with artworks from over 70 local, national and international artists at Sculptures by the Sea on Cottesloe beach from 2-18 March.