The Fremantle-based sculptor and Curtin graduate is known for her monumentally-sized creations – from the colourful, patterned concrete walls at the Midvale interchange of the Great Eastern and Roe Highways, to the supersized ink dipping pen nibs lining the entrance to Perth’s Stirling Gardens and the abstract metallic fishing net at the Mandjoogoordap Drive roundabout in Mandurah.
Neil is now being rewarded on a more personal level, with her latest sculpture, Murmur, purchased by the State Government as a gift to Curtin University for its fiftieth anniversary.
Murmur resembles a giant mollusc seashell, standing more than two metres high, and made from marine-grade aluminium. It was originally created for this year’s Sculpture by the Sea exhibition in Cottesloe.
“It’s great knowing that my work has been bought, but the fact it’s being donated to Curtin is the icing on the cake,” says Neil.
“I wouldn’t be where I am today without Curtin. The lecturers were fantastic and very supportive. They helped me hone my craft and without this support I would not be who I am today.
“I like the idea that just as Curtin made its mark on me, I’m now able to make my mark on Curtin, and the fact it’s in its fiftieth year only adds to my gratitude to the state for this purchase.”
Director of the John Curtin Art Gallery Chris Malcolm was delighted to accept the gift on behalf of Curtin at the Sculpture by the Sea opening event on 2 March.
“I’ve been involved with public art projects around Curtin for more than 20 years and there are terrific opportunities for artists as we continue to develop our campus,” says Malcolm.
“It’s one thing to look at Anne’s sculpture from a hundred metres away, but it is extraordinary to see the attention to detail up close. It’s got a textured finish that captures the light as you move around it.”
After the sculpture is installed, Neil hopes students will feel a sense of joy when they look at it through its similarity to a seashell.
“With this sculpture, I wanted to evoke the memory or ‘murmur’ of a shell, rather than a shell itself,” she says.
Neil believes there has been no better time than now for artists to make their mark on Western Australia.
“The fact that we’re living in a young city and artists have the potential to influence it on a grassroots level is tremendous,” she says.