Lawson’s Shaelene Murray's work Hosery, Gulliver’s Lost Sock is part of Western Sydney University’s 2018 Sculpture Prize

Everything is looking a little Lilliputian lately for one very talented Lawson artist.

The work of Lawson’s Shaelene Murray – titled Hosery, Gulliver’s Lost Sock is set to be installed at Western Sydney University’s 2018 Sculpture Prize and Exhibition later this month.

Hosery – Gulliver’s Lost Sock is handknitted from a continuous length of Powaflex air compressor hose and will be inflated on the WSU Campbelltown campus for the official public opening on May 4 and remain there until June 3. It is western Sydney’s own version of Sculpture by the Sea.

The giant lost sock was created from 600 metres of the yellow air hose, then knitted on a circular wooden frames by french or loom knitting.

Ms Murray said the idea wasn’t originally meant to be a giant sock.

“The idea of a large, inflatable sculpture began with research into the resizing of children’s loom bands and board into rubber inner tubes and a large bristling wooden platform as a board. The sculpture itself started life as an idea for a boat, which then evolved a raft and finally a sock.”

The artist started developing the piece in late 2013 with “a lot of help from professionals and friends”.

“The piece was made and remade three times before finally finishing early 2018.”

In a technical statement about the work she said “a purl stitch was used for the toe and heel, with a knit stitch for the sole. A zig zag pattern, representing the change in scale Gulliver encounters, is worked into the top of the foot and around the ankle. The sock is finished with a ribbed cuff.”

“The hose is sealed at the toe and has a valve fitted at the cuff end to allow inflation with an air compressor ... the air making the piece rigid and self supporting. Deflated, Hosery can be folded and stored on a trolley.”

The artist is a multi-award winner –  longlisted in the Aesthetica Art Prize in the UK and a finalist in the Deakin Small Sculpture Prize 2017 and the Wynne Prize in 2013. She also has a history of working in glass and ceramics and her work is held in collections around the world.

Ms Murray hopes those looking at the sculpture will “decide whether we or indeed Gulliver is the authentic human”.

“This concept is bound to what I hope the viewer will experience; the notion that we are the art, that our understanding of our place in the world can be disrupted by a giant looking for his sock.”

She said “in due time the sock will be unraveled and re-knitted into another piece. The beginning of a new series perhaps whimsically entitled ‘Gulliver’s lost things’.”

Another Mountains artist Neil Laredo of Glenbrook has also been selected. His sculpture, Contradiction of Difference, is a large 500kg and 3m high structure of plastic mirrors, aluminium sheets and tiles – which will form a corridor that you can walk through on the campus.

Western Sydney University art curator, Monica McMahon, said 23 new sculptures will be added to the existing sculpture park, located on the rolling hills and lakeside vista of the entrance to the University’s Campbelltown campus.

“The sculptures range from epic creations that you can wander through, to low-lying works with intricate details that you tower over. They are installed in the lake and on the surrounding grass,” Ms McMahon said.

Since the Sculpture Prize began in 2004, the university has acquired seven prize-winning sculptures and another six donated sculptures have been permanently installed on the campus.

Both Mr Laredo and Ms Murray are contenders for the university’s major acquisitive sculpture prize of 2018 which is valued at $30,000. The winner of the major prize will be announced on May 4.