Anne Neil’s time to shine with Murmur at Sculpture by the Sea

Anne Neil. Picture: Andrew Ritchie
Anne Neil. Picture: Andrew Ritchie

ARTIST couple Anne Neil and Steve Tepper are a double act when it comes to raising their children.

So when they adopted their daughter from China 10 years ago, the sculptors made a pact only one of them would exhibit at Sculpture by the Sea in Cottesloe at a time.

“My husband has been in Sculpture by the Sea quite a few times,” Neil said.

“Last year when the applications came out, I had an idea and had wanted to make this piece for a while.

“I said to Steve unless he had something he desperately wanted to make, it was my turn.”

Neil’s artwork, Murmur, is a 2.5m by 2m sculpture made from one of her favourite materials – marine grade aluminium – and she spent several months working on it after receiving sponsorship from Capral Aluminium.

“The sculpture is really inspired by living by the sea,” Neil said.

“It’s a shell-like structure without being a shell. It has a murmur that says ‘I’m of the sea, but I’m not a shell’; it’s an abstract form.

“I’d like people to feel a sense of delight when they look at the form and that it reminds them of the sea or a shell. But if nothing else, they look at the piece and feel a sense of joy from the abstract work.”

Neil has felt her own personal sense of joy from the work after the news that it had already been acquired by Premier Colin Barnett to be donated to Curtin University for its 50th anniversary, which is where she trained in jewellery and ceramics before studying sculpture at Australian National University in Canberra.

“I’m overjoyed because I went to WAIT, which is now Curtin University,” she said.

“So for me it’s not just about the pre-sale of the piece but it’s going to the place where I had my art foundation, which is absolutely gobsmackingly exciting.

“The Sculpture by the Sea staff are fantastic. What a remarkable team that they start the ball rolling even before the show opens to see what potential buyers might be available.”

Neil said she looked forward to seeing the sculptures by more than 70 artists from around the world during the 13th annual Sculpture by the Sea at Cottesloe Beach from March 3-20.

“It’s the opportunity to see international works and how other artists have approached work at the beach,” she said.

“The sad part is that we’ve lost a lot of our large, fantastic galleries here in the last few years and sculpture is very difficult to see.

“You don’t see group sculpture shows very much anymore, so this is an opportunity to experience something quite different: if you’re a sculptor, wow!”


What: Sculpture by the Sea

Where: Cottesloe Beach

When: March 3-20