— observations from the Blue Mountains Design Bureau —

MAP I – Kia Sulc House

Modern Art Project (MAP) is an open house program initiated by local artist/curator Billy Gruner. The program, developed with the assistance of Blue Mountains City Council and local artists Sarah Breen Lovett, Sarah Keighery and David Haines, explores curation opportunities for contemporary artists in homes of architectural interest in the Blue Mountains. The first MAP for 2014, ‘Interregnum’ was curated by Blue Mountains’ resident Lizzy Marshall and included early career artists Leahlani Johnson, Naomi Oliver, Honi Ryan & Nicola Walkerden at the intriguing Kia Sulc house. With an indigenous welcome performed by Graham Davis, MAP I was greeted enthusiastically by over 200 visitors who attended to view the house and the artworks, with many staying on to enjoy the warm, lazy, Sunday afternoon with a picnic on the lawns and entertainment by the multifaceted duo - The Motel Sisters.

Located in Faulconbridge just down the road from Norman Lindsay’s estate, the origins of the design of the Kia Sulc house built c.1960 is unknown. What is known is that Kia Sulc, a reclusive local sculptor & ex-artmaster of nearby Springwood high school hand built the original house for himself and his wife on the 25 acre property. Perched on a rocky outcrop with stunning bush views over the valley, the house is designed in the organic  modernist style of the mid century era popular in America at the time.

Rough hewn sandstone angled buttress walls, slate roofs and expressed angled timber columns demonstrate the influence of mid century contemporary design. Clearly a labour of love, the home incorporates many of  Kia Sulc’s artworks including wrought iron gates, bronze panels and painted doors depicting the couple locked in embrace.

Andy Macdonald the owner since 1987, thankfully recognised the cultural significance of the property and has been carefully restoring the building and grounds. Since 1995 Andy’s sympathetic additions, the Studio Cottages provide unique accommodation for couples and families in this tranquil bush setting.

The first in a series of four open houses scheduled for 2014, The Cloudscape is eagerly awaiting the next venue on the MAP coming up on Sunday April 6 at the Morton House, Woodford. For more information visit ModernArtProjects.

IMAGES Camille Walsh WORDS Libby Sullivan

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