Sculpture in the Garden

Shades of Grey annual exhibition.

I recently had the opportunity to meet Chelly and Peter Grey, two Castlemaine artists. The couple began their artistic life as ceramicists, however they soon found a love for wire, tin and rusty metal. Over the past 20 years their work has been seen on TV, in various lifestyle magazines including Vogue Living and Marie Claire and they have exhibited at local galleries as well as the Guggenheim in New York.  Since moving to Castlemaine in 2000, Chelly and Peter focused their passion towards creating artworks for their own gallery.  The Shades of Grey Studio and Gallery is set amongst a whimsical garden of birches, bulbs and beautiful flowers, many made from tin.  With the annual exhibition only a few weeks away, empty plinths are quickly filling with new and exciting works.  I was also excited to see the artwork out in the garden; metal sculpture often looks best in the open, weathered, with nature completing the work with a coat of patina.  I have seen many sculpture gardens over the years, in most cases the garden is simply the backdrop where little attempt is made to integrate the artwork into the garden. At Shades of Grey Studio and Galleryit is refreshing to see plants growing around and through the artworks, enhancing the sculptures, allowing them to settle into the landscape.

Sculpture is most often used as a point of focus in the garden, however there are many other ways garden art can be used to great effect. 

Well selected sculpture can balance a space through adding structure to a whimsical garden or a playful surprise in a formal landscape. 

Creating an accent in the garden though selecting sculptures that reflect or mimic the natural form is a common device enlisted by garden designers.  Accent pieces like a solid sphere paired with clipped topiary or a rusty grape vine displayed in a vineyard sets the mood for a garden and reinforces its meaning.  Regardless of the reason why sculpture is placed in the garden, the strongest impact is always achieved when the artwork is something you love.

Chelly and Peter are displaying new works during their annual exhibition from October 31 to November 8 (closed on Wednesday 4 November).  This year’s exhibition is “The Garden,”  showcasing works for and inspired by the Aussie backyard.  The gallery is also open each weekend from November 14 until December 20 - a great opportunity for a one of a kind Christmas gift for the gardener with everything!

Shades of Grey Studio and Gallery is at the intersection of Farnsworth Street and Brown Street, Castlemaine. You can also go to their website at for more information and to see images of their latest creations.