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Thursday, 22 October 2015 05:53

Art gallery displays works of local sculptors at Swift Current exhibition

Written by  Matthew Liebenberg
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Gladys Wozny-Siemens of Rush Lake, who works in cast and carved plaster, explains her technique during a walk and talk tour with artists for the Art Gallery of Swift Current's Series 2015 exhibition, Sept. 25. Gladys Wozny-Siemens of Rush Lake, who works in cast and carved plaster, explains her technique during a walk and talk tour with artists for the Art Gallery of Swift Current's Series 2015 exhibition, Sept. 25.

The current exhibition at the Art Gallery of Swift Current (AGSC) showcases the work of four sculptors from southwest Saskatchewan.

The Series 2015 exhibition takes place until Nov. 1. It features pieces created by the participating artists during the past five to 10 years.
AGSC Director and Curator Kim Houghtaling said the Series exhibition is an opportunity to explore the works of an artist in more detail than with a salon-style exhibition that involves more artists.
“We found the salon approach was too general,” he explained. “So with the Series, I wanted to concentrate in on just a few artists at a time and really bring together more of their work.”
Visitors to the exhibition are able to view the changes and progression in the works of the four sculptors.
“They work in a kind of series,” he said. “The way to show that is to bring together a large number of works and really explore it more in order to demonstrate those developments and processes, and how they come about and develop something new in their work or something more powerful and how that moves them along in the process of their work.”
According to Houghtaling the exhibition's exclusive focus on sculptors is significant because their approach is different than for two-dimensional art forms such as paintings and drawings.
“Sculpture involves illusion and reference and symbolism and awe and expressive form and all those dynamics, but it’s not two-dimensional in any real way,” he said. “So it’s a different way of looking and thinking about a form, especially an expressive form. I think it’s a real joy for people who like sculpture to have a big show with lots of examples in it.”
He noted that the four artists in the exhibition have shown a professional commitment to artmaking through their work.
“They’re very independent workers,” he said. “They are committed to working, to have significant results. They don’t settle for anything boring or second-rate or simplistic. They are pursuing something of significance and so I have great respect for their commitment and that’s really what makes them professional.”
Milan Gerza of Kyle has been working as a wood carver for about 11 years. He has previously participated in seven Southwest Open exhibitions, which are hosted annually by the AGSC at the West Wing Gallery in Kinetic Park. This is the first time that his works from that entire period are shown together.
“I’m doing these things because I love to do it, but also as any other person who is doing some art, would like to share it with people,” he said. “This is giving me the opportunity to show everything together. It gives me the satisfaction that I’m doing something worth to look at.”
These works represent distinct phases in his development as an artist. His goal is to do something new every year.
“Every year I would do something which I have never done before because I like a challenge,” he said. “I have to think about it, how to do it, how it will look like.”
Sylvia Thompson of Pennant works in carved wood and mixed media. She has previously participated in the Southwest Open, but her works have never been part of an exhibition in the AGSC main gallery.
“It means Kim thought my work is good enough to be in here, so that’s good,” she said.
Most of the ideas for her work will come from her personal experiences and she will be inspired by a variety of things.
“Everything is accidental, everything I make,” she said. “I just stumble across it.”
She will see something in the wood that interests her. She will then focus on that when she starts to work with the wood.
“That’s the best way, instead of trying to make something out of the wood.” she said. “So a lot of these I could see the faces in the wood.”
Allan Wiederhold of Swift Current is a stone carver. He works full-time in construction, but he has been carving for about 12 years and his works have previously been on exhibition at the art gallery.
“For two years I learned to carve the architectural side of things,” he said. “I always wanted to do carving and then I finally got more into the sculptural side of things, which is very free form.”
His ideas for what to create comes from looking at different stones and then he will start to carve.
“I look at one and then I move to another one,” he said. “So I kind of play around with the stones and something will come up. I always like doing two or three in the same idea.”
Some of his carvings in this exhibition includes human faces in a more abstract style.
“You can’t say that they look like a normal face at all, but I do like them,” he said. “The idea is that your eyes and nose are supposed to be here, whereas if I’m doing the free form stuff. It doesn’t really matter, you can carve it anywhere you want.”
He is interested in doing formal carvings of the human face and body that follows a more classical style.
“Look at all the old sculptors, look at Michelangelo, he’s got beautiful bodies and faces,” he said. “I do a lot of that abstract and free form. You can make anything look like a tree, whereas now I want to start doing faces or full bodies.”
Gladys Wozny-Siemens of Rush Lake works in cast and carved plaster. Her works were previously shown at the art gallery during a solo exhibition in 2009.
A key part of her technique is to make a cast of whatever she finds interesting on the ground. She said her work is similar to a photographer taking a picture of a landscape.
“I take a three-dimensional picture,” she mentioned. “I don’t just randomly put plaster down wherever. I look around and see where I can find a pattern or texture or some rhythms that interest me and what I’m doing is actually composing right at that very moment.”
She is very interested in process and materials, while nature is integral to her work. Artists will use their work for self expression, but her focus is different.
“I like to start with something that will help me make a sculpture and what I’ve actually done is found something, which is starting off with a cast of part of the land,” she said. “That gives me ideas to make a sculpture out of it and because it has things in it that suggest other things to me, I build on that and I even use components of a sculpture for a future sculpture.”
She enjoyed seeing the works of the four artists together in the Series 2015 exhibition.
“I think it’s a wonderful because the different artists are so unique and earnest,” she said. “Each have a unique voice, each have a unique story to tell and it’s all different.”

Read 3821 times Last modified on Monday, 26 October 2015 06:16