Melbourne sculptor wins 2018 Tesselaar Sculpture Prize

Run in conjunction with the Association of Sculptors Victoria, the Tesselaar Sculpture Prize is an acquisitive prize; one of the richest in the state with $20,000 on offer for the winning sculpture.

Each entry is judged using a range of criteria from the visually impressive to innovation in style. They have an enduring nature and will ultimately complement the existing collection of works at Tesselaar and surrounding environment which, for one month of the year consists of over 900,000 tulips in flower.

John Bishop, Synergy

Exhibition curator, Mark Cowie, was thrilled with the number of high-quality sculptures entered into the Tesselaar Sculpture Prize for 2018: ‘The outstanding visual delight of looking at the abundance of colourful tulips rippling across the sloping fields is a challenging context in which to place contemporary sculpture,’ stated curator, Mark Cowie. ‘The 25 selected finalists showcasing their artistic styles and creative talent in the eleventh annual exhibition come from across Victoria and include some well-known and highly-regarded Australian sculptors, along with a number of established and talented emerging sculptors.’

This year’s prize was judged by the highly-regarded sculptor, Michael Meszaros OAM, who has won a number of prizes in Australian and international competitions and has works in many local and international collections, including the British Museum. His final selection, Synergy by Melbourne-based sculptor John Bishop, is based on two sides with upward flowing waveforms that contrast and complement each other, being slightly out of phase, similar yet different, hence the title. The reconciliation of these two sides creates undulating surfaces with rounded curves suggesting human forms when viewed from some angles.

‘My sculpture is the result of my fascination with form,’ says Bishop. ‘I create organic shapes, contrasting smooth curves with sharp edges, producing light and shade and encouraging the viewer to study the piece from all sides.’

‘I believe the colour and texture of Synergy will contrast beautifully against the spectacular backdrop of the tulip fields in full bloom,’ he continued.

The Tesselaar Sculpture Exhibition is open for the duration of the Tesselaar Tulip Festival, September 15 to October 14, in Silvan. For a full program of events visit

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