AB / EX at Canadian Sculpture Gallery

The title of the group show AB / EX stands for Abstract Expressionism. This is the first “all abstract” exhibition at the Canadian Sculpture Gallery. Regardless of media, the gallery always showcases both abstract & figurative work to equally represent its members. Following the previous totally figurative show the gallery decided to make this show an all abstract exhibition. The members were delighted and you could feel their joy in the works they created and viewers— there were many of them at the gallery’s Opening Reception, against all odds—equally enjoyed the pieces.

AB / EX Opening reception on October 24, 2020 at the Canadian Sculpture Centre. Photo: Peter Virun

When you think about sculpture, even abstract sculpture, you first consider the material, then shape, maybe movement, but not light. There were two artists who encapsulated light in their sculptures in very different ways. Barbara Fletcher created a marvellous illusion in her cast acrylic and mirror pieces. The crystal shaped compositions reflect the light or are darkened by it, depending on the angle of the light. The green and blue colors further enrich the visuals.

Barbara Fletcher, A Complimentary Couple (L) & Optical Illusion Perfected (R), both cast acrylic, mirror. Photo: Emese Krunak-Hajagos

Sergey Ragozin takes us into a different world, to a far away galaxy. The work is a manmade structure, an edgy cube built of metal wires. Some tubes and finer wires create an inner structure that might be some kind of machinery or a place for some strange species. What makes it mesmerizing is how the ambient light reaches inside and gives movement to an otherwise rigid construction.

Sergey Ragozin, Galaxy Station, mixed-media. Photo: Emese Krunak-Hajagos

Abstract artworks always focus the viewer’s attention on the beauty of the materials. The beautiful color of Mary Ellen Farrow’s alabaster sculpture, Faith, is further emphasized by the white sphere in the middle, creating a sensitive balance. The veins of the stone  accentuate the intricate curving shape of Dina Torrans’ statuette. Wayfarer by John Clinton works like a magnet as visitors tend to get closer and closer to it in order to enjoy the amazing pattern of the reclaimed plywood.

Mary Ellen Farrow, Faith, alabaster (L) & Dina Torrans, Enso, Danby imperial marble, granite (R). Courtesy of Canadian Sculpture Centre

John Clinton, Wayfarer, reclaimed plywood. Photo: Emese Krunak-Hajagos

Peter Alexander Por’s almost figurative creations stand with grace. The artist put together seemingly unrelated machinery parts that we would never imagine together and the outcome is very playful. The complicated ornamentation of the positive and negative shapes Gord Smith created become more enchanting with the rich golden light the copper reflects.

Peter Alexander Por, Robert’s Message (L) and Lovejoy (R), both mixed metals. Photo: Emese Krunak-Hajagos

Gord Smith, Optic Screen Horizontal, copper. Photo: Emese Krunak-Hajagos

Andy Berg combines different materials in Onocleas Sensibilis. The dark, tree-trunk-like columns hold a very beautiful fern leaf giving us a feeling of nature’s triumph. Irene Sirko and Tom Ashbourne work the stone until it shines with inner beauty. The trees seem to sing as they still reach toward the sky in Yeon-Tak Chang wood sculptures. In Judy Raymar Ivkoff’s Interactions two very different materials are combined with a strong line dividing them, so they both keep their characters. In Edward Falkenberg’s work the wood, stone, metal and plastic embrace to create a unique piece.

Andy Berg, Onocleas Sensibilis, stoneware, porcelain, glazes, oil paint. Photo: Emese Krunak-Hajagos

Irene Sirko, A Matter of Degree, serpentine (L) & Tom Ashbourne, Elation, purple wonderstone, granite (R). Courtesy of Canadian Sculpture Centre

Yeon-Tak Chang, Treescape, maple wood (L) and Origin, willow wood (R). Courtesy of Canadian Sculpture Centre

Edward Falkenberg, (L-R) Shore, wood, rock, paint; The Plaza At Midnight, wood, copper, slate; Temperature Rising, wood, plastic. Courtesy of Canadian Sculpture Centre

Emese Krunak-Hajagos

*Exhibition information: October 24 – November 22, 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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