Three Sisters

 

Three Sisters 1970 by Gordon Andrews is a group of three welded steel monoliths four meters high, standing two meters apart in a triangle in the middle of a little known small rectangular park on the upper level of Walsh Bay. The park is tucked away on Pottinger Street which veers off Hickson Rd at pier 2/3 roundabout encircling the park on three sides. The park itself is about the size of an elongated basketball court. A footpath around the edge runs along the top of the cliffs where a low sandstone wall supports a two-meter-high palisade fence made of vertical rods of cast iron with points like spear heads.

These iron palisade fences are found throughout this part of Sydney. The park also has one sparse row of trees, six black modern lampposts a few concrete utility boxes and two wooden benches facing north, toward Hickson Rd.

The terraces towering above the Pottinger Street cliff look down on the park and Gordon Andrews work at the centre. The Sydney Harbour Bridge makes a magnificent backdrop with its mighty stone pylons and arch rising above the rocks.

From a distance the three tall totems in the middle of the grass look much like one another. They are the same warm purple colour and they each have four sides rising vertically from a diamond shaped base with sides 80cm wide.

The totems are not uninterrupted geometric prisms. In all three totems Andrews has left two opposing edges or corners alone and these rise straight up from the ground. The other two vertical edged of each totem had fissures or indentations.

The totem closest to the harbour bridge has a round plaque with the title of this work mounted at the base. On the plaque side of this totem, the edge has been split open from top to bottom. The hole bellying out in the middle so that we can discern the darkness of the inside of the sculpture. But there is also a long thin vertical shape inside this hole and it is pushing through from the other side of this totem. Coming around to the opposite edge, Andrews has created an indentation again from top to bottom that looks like a very tall, narrow canoe. You can feel how it starts narrow at the base of the sculpture and widens as it rises and how deep it is. This deep narrow canoe like shape is the shape that pushes through the hole on the other side of the totem.

– Gordon Andrews 1970

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