LOOK HERE! at Canadian Sculpture Centre

In the current exhibition at the Sculptors Society of Canada you are invited to experience the essence of contemporary portraiture by thirteen artists. The show addresses the diversity in human beings with a variety of materials and techniques.

Installation view of LOOK HERE!

Marlene Kawalez focuses on the relationship between the inner self and the environment around us. Time Traveller is a very interesting piece, that looks human from the front but more like a machine or a storage space from the back. Through the unzipped back we can see coins, old watches and other objects that may recall memories – lost and found. W.W. Hung’s sculpture is very eye catching with its unique depiction of a figure in abstract surroundings. It is hard to know whether he is running or jumping. He radiates energy and strong emotions. As the artists stated “I make sculptures that convey the vulnerability, as well as the tenacity, of the human psyche.”

David & Marlene Kawalez with Secret of Secrets (left), and Time Traveller (right), both raku fired clay, mixed media (above) and Time Traveller, detail 

W.W. Hung, Shards, polymer, stainless steel, nylon thread

We can’t help but fabricate stories when looking at the sculptures of Gordon Becker and John Clinton. What is Becker’s Seer looking at and what does he actually see? Could it be as ordinary as a second pair of glasses?! Clinton has an amazing talent in depicting characters. Both Travis and Gus invite a narrative. Travis loves summer walks and beer (he has such a belly) and Gus is a sports fan for sure, as his T-shirt shows. Clinton wrote that he is “obsessed with the back-story that is conveyed through a gesture, a nuance, or a look.”

Gordon Becker, The Seer, (left) and Dance of Generations (right), both hand-carved wood, mixed-media

John Clinton, Travis (left) and Gus (right), both bronze

Eamon considers himself a communicator above all. His sculpture, Reflection has a deep understanding of life and the marks it leaves on our faces. The meaning is ambiguous; it is not easy to figure out what reflects what. It is a face carved into stone and stone is not a mirror. Is the figure finding or loosing himself in it? This artwork has some ancient meaning hiding in it, something magical and mystical, inviting the viewers’ contemplation. J. A. Fligel also addresses human feelings but his sculptures are more playful, showing the beauty of life through various cultures.

 Eamon, Reflection, Brazilian soapstone

J.A.Fligel, Dancer, bronze

Saulius Jaskus believes that “the human form has a deeper significance for the psychological and symbolic message.” Mary Ellen Farrows’s Serenity radiates peacefulness. Peter Shoebridge wrote about his artistic intention that “through form and the eye’s curiosity and the mind’s imagination as it is drawn around a piece can we engage with someone not there and feel a presence.”

Saulius Jaskus with Joseph’s Dream (left), Head of Youth(right), and Juan Daydreaming (front), all three terra cotta, pigment

Mary Ellen Farrow, Serenity, Italian alabaster

Peter Shoebridge, Orbit (left), Dreamer (right), both acrylic reinforced hydrocal, mixed-media

The remaining four artists all use bronze as their medium but in very different ways, even when their themes seem similar. Karen Stoskopf Harding Galaxiana, that she calls a pure imagination, is a semi-abstract dream portrait of a goddess. Holly Atkinson creates faces that remind us of African masks but they are much more contemporary and full of irony. The female figures of Camie Geary-Martin are slim, ethereal and always in movement. It is really interesting and smart how Marc André Jacques Fortier’s sculptures are installed in Old Montreal (the pieces in the exhibition are maquettes). As the artist described: “The English Snob is looking at Notre-Dame Church (symbolizing the French) while his English Pug (deeply attracted) is staring 210 feet away, at the French Poodle. The French Snob is looking at the Bank of Montreal (symbolizing the English) while her French Poodle (deeply attracted) is staring 210 feet away, at the English Pug.”

Karen Stoskopf Harding with Galaxiana, bronze

Holly Atkinson, Material Girl (left) and Creative Mind (right), both bronze

Camie Geary-Martin, Woman Looking Left, bronze

The English Pug, Le carlin Anglais and The French Poodle, Le caniche Français, bronze, maquettes for 10ft sculptures installed in Old Montreal

The exhibition had two Opening Receptions, both well attended.

Images are courtesy of Canadian Sculpture Gallery

Exhibition information: LOOK HERE! / Group show, Augustus 8 – October 12, 2020, Canadian Sculpture Centre, 19 Mill Street, Distillery District. Gallery hours: Mon – Sat, 11 am – 5 pm; Sun, 12 – 5 pm.

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