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Ken Bartle

Published: 21 November 2014

Ken Bartle

He is a man who wears many hats, Ken Bartle. A truly artistic soul who perhaps cannot be defined by any one category, so let’s just say that the vastly experienced and highly-acclaimed photographer/painter/designer/sculptor is a character Aspects is proud to introduce you to this month.

Born and educated in New Zealand, Ken migrated to WA in 1976. Ken soon began working with Australian architects in the housing industry; much in research, group housing and planning. Long before the phrase ‘sustainable design’ or ‘eco-living’ became popular, Ken Bartle was a founding pioneer of Solar House Design, achieving State and Federal recognition for his first solar house built in 1978.

To further enhance his house designs, Ken took up sculpture in the late nineties to gain the tactile feel of the 3D form. Ken reflects on his foray into sculpture saying '…my eyes and hands worked at the same scale as the finished object. By this means I gained far greater appreciation of form, proportion, balance, light, scale, and purpose above all.' Ken’s talent allows the medium, Jarrah, to speak for itself.

Unique, as most WA locals also happen to be, Jarrah trees stand out from the crowd. As a Kings Park favourite, many of you are already accustomed to her royal highness Eucalyptus marginata as one of the most durable, beautiful hardwoods in the world. Jarrah is also a ‘joy to work with’ says Ken, who prizes it for colour, finishing properties and its natural lustre.

Simplicity of line and curvilinear form dominates in Ken Bartle’s abstract pieces. Imparting fluidity in form, Ken seeks to affirm in the viewer that life is joy, has integrity and is driven by passion. Bringing a sense of elegance and harmonious expression to an idea, these works aim to trigger an emotional response while absent of representing an identifiable form.  

You will certainly be amazed at what Jarrah can do. How such delicate, smooth and expressive forms can be extracted from such a hardwood. Ken's sculptures are striking - they gently caress the space, embodying a very tranquil image. Experience the beauty and dance of Ken’s pieces on display at Aspects and it won’t take long before you’ll succumb to the drift of the wood.

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