A rare May Barrie art piece donated to the University of Wollongong

DONATION: UOW alumna Jules McCue and UOW Art Collection director Senior Professor Amanda Lawson check out the Winged Bull. Picture: Paul Jones
DONATION: UOW alumna Jules McCue and UOW Art Collection director Senior Professor Amanda Lawson check out the Winged Bull. Picture: Paul Jones

On Tuesday another rare work by the late May Barrie was donated to the University of Wollongong Art Collection.

The award-winning Illawarra sculptor created the maquette Winged Bull in 1969 as a model of a sculpture that now stands at St Luke’s Church in Liverpool.

The maquette was acquired by Roberta Bell-Allen, who was herself a figure in Wollongong’s artistic community and a friend of Ms Barrie. Both women were members of the Wollongong Art Society in the 1960s.

Now in her 90s, Ms Bell-Allen, through her friendship with UOW alumna Jules McCue, has generously donated the maquette to the UOW Art Collection.

Ms Barrie, who died in 2014 at the age of 96, continued to sculpt well into her 90s and her works are held in numerous private and public art collections across the country.

She is best known for her work with granite and stone, much of it mined from near her home in the foothills of the Illawarra escarpment at Calderwood.

UOW Art Collection director Senior Professor Amanda Lawson said the university was delighted to receive an artwork that had strong ties to the Wollongong artistic community.

“The Winged Bull maquette is a special piece that captures the working process of a major artist of the region,” Prof Lawson said.

“It is wonderful to have a permanent place for it in the university’s art collection, and we are very grateful to Roberta Bell-Allen for generously donating this sculpture.”

UOW is already home to Viva Solaris, a sculpture Ms Barrie created in 1976.

The totemic stone sculpture located on McKinnon Lawn was one of the first artworks acquired by the university.

The latest donation coincides with the launch of a May Barrie exhibition at Project Contemporary Artspace in Wollongong.

UOW alumna Jules McCue and UOW Art Collection director Senior Professor Amanda Lawson check out the Winged Bull while standing behind another of May Barrie's work, the Viva Solaris sculpture located on the McKinnon Lawn. Picture: Paul Jones

UOW alumna Jules McCue and UOW Art Collection director Senior Professor Amanda Lawson check out the Winged Bull while standing behind another of May Barrie's work, the Viva Solaris sculpture located on the McKinnon Lawn. Picture: Paul Jones