Sculp­tured Art


Ottawa Business Journal - Ottawa at Home - - HOME LIVING INSPIRATIONS - Writ­ten by ARAINA BOND Hy­drant photo by DAVID BAR­BOUR “Ma­man” photo sup­plied by THE NA­TIONAL ART GALLERY OF CANADA

Whether sculp­tures are used to dec­o­rate an in­ti­mate gar­den or a prom­i­nent pub­lic space, they al­low you to ex­pe­ri­ence art in a more tan­gi­ble way. Ot­tawa has a va­ri­ety of unique sculp­tures and the cap­i­tal city is rec­og­nized in­ter­na­tion­ally and lo­cally for em­brac­ing this fas­ci­nat­ing form of artis­tic ex­pres­sion.

A sculp­ture of a thirty-foot high spi­der may sound like some­thing from a B-grade hor­ror movie. But the serene al­lure of Louise Bour­geois’ bronze spi­der “Ma­man,” which graces the court­yard of the Na­tional Gallery of Canada, sur­prises and de­lights even the most arachno­pho­bic vis­i­tors.

“It’s a beloved land­mark and re­ally show­cases that Ot­tawa is a world-class city for art,” says the As­sis­tant Cu­ra­tor of Mod­ern Art Jonathan Shaugh­nessy. The lo­cal sculp­ture is the largest of a se­ries of seven spi­ders, with other ver­sions that have been show­cased at such es­teemed venues as Lon­don’s Tate Mod­ern and the Guggen­heim Mu­seum in New York.

How­ever, art gal­leries aren’t the only place around town where you can see stun­ning pub­lic art. As part of a re­cent project to re­vi­tal­ize the streets of Welling­ton Vil­lage, 18 stat­ues carved by lo­cal artists Ryan Lotecki and Marcus Kucey-Jones are scat­tered along Welling­ton Street West. Carved from mar­ble the artists hand-picked in Italy, the whim­si­cal sculp­tures de­pict life-sized fire hy­drants that have been mor­phed into ev­ery­day ob­jects like baby seats, books and veg­eta­bles.

“We de­cided on us­ing fire hy­drants as the uni­fy­ing fea­ture be­cause they’re all-in­clu­sive,” says the multi-ta­lented Ryan, who carved nine of the sculp­tures. “The fire hy­drant is an ob­ject that is an in­te­gral part of the com­mu­nity and it is found ev­ery­where.”

The pi­ano-and-hy­drant sculp­ture dis­played out­side Lau­zon Mu­sic, is used to showcase the con­nec­tion be­tween the art and the neigh­bour­hood. All the sculp­tures seem to touch lo­cal res­i­dents in some way, and ev­ery­one has a favourite. Ryan’s favourite of his own carv­ing is the hon­ey­bees, which can be found tucked away next to a foun­tain in Hin­ton­burg’s Som­er­set Square.

There are clear in­di­ca­tions that Ot­tawa’s com­mit­ment to beau­ti­fy­ing the city with pub­lic art is grow­ing. As an ex­am­ple, lo­cal artist and teacher Tim Desclouds has just cre­ated a set of 22 strik­ing sculp­tures that are go­ing to be in­stalled along Bank Street in the Glebe. The brightly-coloured stain­less-steel chairs rep­re­sent important universal themes such as play, jus­tice, family, lit­er­acy and the arts. The Ed­u­ca­tion Chair fea­tures a cheery, red spi­ral stair­case that leads to an open book and danc­ing let­ters of the al­pha­bet, while the Con­struc­tion Chair in­cor­po­rates a steplad­der and tools into the de­sign.

“ The goal of this project was to lighten the daily jour­neys taken by Glebe res­i­dents in a mag­i­cal, hu­mor­ous, and thought-pro­vok­ing man­ner,” ex­plains Tim. “ They are a trib­ute to the jour­neys we take in our ev­ery­day lives and to the land­scapes found along the way, which form the back­drops of our ex­is­tence.”

A mean­ing­ful art ex­pe­ri­ence is some­thing ev­ery­one can bring to their own back yard. Avid art en­thu­si­ast Monique Oaks has cre­ated a sculp­ture gar­den with flair at her home in the Glebe. As Vice Chair of the Ot­tawa Botan­i­cal Gar­den So­ci­ety, she is not only pas­sion­ate about col­lect­ing art for her own gar­den, but also works tire­lessly on fundrais­ing projects such as the Coun­try Gar­den Tour to help re-es­tab­lish the botan­i­cal gar­den that once ex­isted at the Cen­tral Ex­per­i­men­tal Farm.

At home, Monique and her hus­band Steve have care­fully se­lected re­mark­able works from lo­cal artists, as well as pieces picked up dur­ing their trav­els, to dis­play through­out their lush gar­den. A wind­ing path leads slowly through the flowerbeds to a charm­ing wa­ter­fall that trick­les into the pond, so that each sculp­ture can be ap­pre­ci­ated one at a time – even those on the roof of the shed.

At the back en­trance to the gar­den stands a fan­ci­ful iron gate dec­o­rated with found ob­jects, which is a work of art Monique com­mis­sioned as a gift for her hus­band, There’s also a strik­ing boat skele­ton by lo­cal de­sign­ers Ur­ban Keois, a col­lec­tion of sleek blue-glass globes, and a large bird named “Van” who pre­sides over the pond. Pretty bird feed­ers are scat­tered through­out.

“We wanted to cre­ate a space where the art and the gar­den set each other off,” Monique says. “The flow­ers and trees re­veal the beauty of the sculp­tures and the art does the same for the gar­den.” Its ef­fect is es­pe­cially dra­matic at night, when fifty con­cealed lights il­lu­mi­nate the sculp­tures from be­low.

Ex­pe­ri­enc­ing sculp­tured art in a gallery set­ting, en­joy­ing its com­pany on your neigh­bour­hood walks, or view­ing it in your own pri­vate gar­den are all de­light­ful ways to con­nect you to the beauty of your en­vi­ron­ment. Take the time to stop and savour the sculp­tures!

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