There is only one new member of the Sculptors Society of Canada (SSC) this year. Patrick Bermingham is a semi-abstract sculptor who works in metal at his Dundas, Ontario studio. He writes in his artist statement, “I love to engage and inspire the public in this ancient discourse with dynamic and dramatic works which reveal more to the viewer with each new visit. I like to explore historical context and blend old ideas with new and innovative techniques.” Bermingham’s pieces depict women in yoga poses that radiate energy and movement, even when the pose is supposed to be relaxed and still.
Patrick Bermingham, Yoga Pose Tree, steel, 66 x 20 x 20 cm
Patrick Bermingham, Yoga Pose Crow, steel, 40 x 53 x 30 cm
In its group exhibition Earth Day • Springs Forth, the SSC presents visual narratives focusing on global awareness and the vulnerabilities of Mother Earth. The Earth Day exhibition is a tradition for the Canadian Sculpture Centre, as they present a show organized around this theme each year. It always addresses spring, the rebirth of nature, when everything turns green and swells with the promise of new life and new beginnings.
In Barbara Fletcher’s mixed media work “In the Cradle” an “egg-like form is delicately held – representing the precariousness and fragility of infancy – simultaneously nurtured in comfort.” And based on its spherical shape, it also could be our Earth, protected by an ethereal universe.
Barbara Fletcher, In the Cradle, cast acrylic, mixed media, 14 x 19 x 38 cm
“Gestation” by Bastien Martel is also about the power of nurturing. The head of a middle-aged man rests in a bird’s nest. His white face seems relaxed and not yet alive, waiting for an awakening.
Bastien Martel, Gestation, steel, hydrostone, 10 x 13 x 13 cm
Nature is awakening. New flowers and plants fight their way out of the ground as depicted in Judy Raymer Ivkoff, “Germination”, and hibernating insects come to life in Laura Santini’s piece “Praying Mantis”.
Judy Raymer Ivkoff, Germination, clay, bronze, wood, 17 x 44 x 18 cm
Laura Santini, Praying Mantis, bronze
This spring is very different from the SPRING we experienced earlier in our lives when we were free as birds, went anywhere we wanted, met easily with friends and strangers, and did anything we desired. This is the second spring we are in lockdown, such a sad, discouraging thing. Humans are powerful creatures, and deal with these restrictions in many different ways. Marc André J. Fortier in his sculpture “Smile in a Box” tries to send the message that “even though we’re ‘boxed in’ we have to keep smiling through these challenging times.” Somehow it doesn’t feel like a real smile, rather like the model of a denture, or, as it can be wound up with a key, a forced grin – that makes it an even truer depiction of our feelings.
Marc André J. Fortier, Smile in a Box, bronze 1/8, 46 x 35 x 30 cm
As a stay-at-home order has been issued again, we have to learn to treasure the inside of our homes, especially those who live in apartments. A single small cactus can become a goddess on a pedestal given all the light and care in the world to keep it alive, as it’s the only living thing we have right now.
Sergey Ragozin, “Urban Garden”, mixed-media, LED, 33 x 33 x 33 cm
What becomes of us humans under these circumstances? Art DiLella suggests that, that as we can’t walk anywhere, maybe we can become a “Sleep Walker”. But his sculpture suggests more as the figure has the features of a Neanderthal, bringing the history of evolution into present day.
Until better times return, we must visit online exhibitions. It is especially hard to be content with the virtual when it comes to 3D sculptures. We can only hope that when the spring floods are over, we can be as free as a wave in the ocean.
Paul Elia, Pacifico (blue), lucite
Images are courtesy of Canadian Sculpture Centre
*Exhibition information: Earth Day • Springs Forth, an online group show, March 13 – May 2, 2021, Canadian Sculpture Centre, 19 Mill Street, The Distillery District.