One of Australia’s most acclaimed sculptors, working in Melbourne for the past 40 years Bruce Armstrong is best-known for his monumental totemic figures. Often hewn from massive pieces of red-gum, his birds, beasts and figures have a raw energy which assert a commanding presence and engage directly with the viewer. Armstrong is possibly best known for large public sculptures such as the Eagle (Bunjil) 2002 in Melbourne’s Docklands and The Guardians 1987 which formerly sat either side of the arched waterwall at the National Gallery of Victoria.
For the inaugural Beechworth Contemporary Art Award, Armstrong presents a timber Magpie on a timber plinth. He claims to have chosen the Magpie especially for Beechworth because when he visits and stays at the London Tavern in Camp Street (his partners family have been part owners of the building since 1970), he loves to hear the Magpie song in the morning. Armstrong says hearing the sound of Magpies in Richmond where he currently lives, always reminds him of Beechworth.