LITERATURE: Amanda A. Davidson, The Sculpture of William Turnbull, Henry Moore Foundation & Lund Humphries, Hertfordshire, 2005, cat.no.235, p.167 (another cast ill.b&w)
William Turnbull's Paddle Venus Five sits within a body of work exploring the notion of Idols which includes Masks, Heads, Paddles and Totems, that dominates the latter half of his career. Totemic, feminine and commanding Paddle Venus Five finds its roots in the tradition of Tjurunga's; carved sacred objects, representational to the Aboriginal tribes of Central Australia as communicative devises between humanity and the Dreamtime. These are objects of such divinity that to acquire the right to possess one a tribesman would be required to undertake a personal journey of great pain and toil to prove worth and only a select few where granted the right to lay eyes on a Tjurunga with reproduction considered sacrilegious.
Suggestive both of a fertility figurine and a primitive tool, Paddle Venus Five incorporates marks from a personal vocabulary of symbols that Turnbull has been exploring throughout his career, specifically a combination of dots, lines and protrusions which reinforce the feminine aspect suggested by title.