Bob Marchant breaks the sound with his bas-relief barrier

Bob Marchant in 1998 with his wall of dolphins that adorn the sound barriers on the Princes Highway at Sutherland. Picture: Peter Rae (1)

It's not every artist who gets to have in excess of 50,000 people view a piece of work every day, all year long, year after year.

Bob Marchant has achieved this attention as thousands of cars and trucks drive by his bas-relief sound barriers every day as they travel the Princes Highway, Sutherland Shire, Southern region of Sydney.

Bob Marchant explains:

In 2006 I was commissioned to design and help create the artwork for a half mile of walls that were being put up to protect houses both sides of the main highway that passes through the Sutherland shire.

The design I submitted was of whales, dolphins, cockatoos and parrots. 101 dolphins that stretched for a few hundred yards was the first to go up.3

It became so popular 50 whales followed.2

Then the cockatoos ...2

...and parrots. 3

Parrots on the Bob Marchant sound barrier, Sutherland Shire, New South Wales (2)

I don't think a lay person can begin to imagine the amount of work involved in such a project which Bob tells us took over 2 years to complete.

A French term from the Italian basso-relievo ("low relief"), bas-relief (pronounced "bah ree·leef") is a sculpture technique in which figures and/or other design elements are just barely more prominent than the (overall flat) background.4

Follow this link if you would like to read a short article about the History of Bas-Relief.

Fifteen years after the Bob Marchant sound barrier was erected Bob tells us: I still get congratulated by many people who love seeing it for the first time.3

Tomorrow we are off to Africa to learn more about sculpture.

© Thank you to Bob Marchant who kindly gave permission for the images of his work to be shared on AnArt4Life.

Credit
1. theleader.com.au
2. Image supplied by Bob Marchant (bobmarchant.net
3. Correspondence from Bob Marchant