Posts Tagged ‘sculpture’

Art of Glass and Stone with Peter Rice

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016

We’ve got a special event coming up this Friday! Peter Rice will be stopping in to do an artist demo… it’s Art of Glass and Stone!

Peter Rice is one of our long-standing artists at the Algonquin Art Centre. He was born in Toronto but spent most of his childhood in rural areas around the Canadian Shield. It was here, playing and exploring among that unique geology, that Peter became fascinated with rocks as an artistic medium. It wasn’t until his university years at Guelph that he discovered how to perfectly incorporate them into amazing sculptural tableaus. By combining minerals with the practice of setting stained glass, he developed his characteristic mode of depicting the landscape in sculpture.

As intriguing as these pieces are, watching them come together makes them even more fascinating.  Taking raw materials of wire and stone and twisting them into life as a unified sculpture takes patience, insight, and a strong vision of what you want to accomplish. And hearing Peter talk through his work is an extra privilege! He’s great to hang out with while he works his craft, and our visitors love speaking with him. That’s why, year after year, we’re delighted to have him back.

This special event will be taking place throughout the day this Friday, between 10 am and 4 pm. There’s no charge. We’d just love for you to stop in and engage with one of our artists! You can get all the details over on our site.
Join us and spend some time with a fantastic creator in his element!

June 1st is Right Around the Corner!

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

In just one week, we’ll be opening our doors for the brand new season, and 2016 is going to be a great year. We seriously can’t wait for our family of art fans and friends to spend some time with us in the awe-inspiring surroundings of Algonquin Provincial Park. And we have some very special announcements to get you excited for this year’s program…

Our 2016 exhibit, Metamorphosis, promises to be fertile ground for conversation and inspiration. This season we’re fascinated by the idea that stasis is a fiction and all life is change. Across biology, ecology, and practices of internal well-being, the art we’ve chosen reflects big ideas. If all life is change, what does our experience of stillness mean? What roles do science and art play in understanding change, and how can they work together? In what ways can we guide change to make things better in ourselves and the world?
Come experience our 2016 lineup of artists and ponder these questions with us!

David Lidbetter, “Morning, Brewer Lake”

We’re very excited to announce that our featured artist for the month of June is David Lidbetter. We’ll be profiling this painter who’s rapidly becoming one of the most potent forces in Canadian art. His muted tones, ingenious takes on perspective and proportion, and all-season passion for Algonquin Park make his work the perfect launch into Spring at the gallery.
We’re thrilled to have David with us, so stay posted as we highlight his work throughout the month of June!

As we hang the new pieces and put the finishing touches on the space, we’re also gearing up for all the things our friends have come to expect. Take in art classes in our gazebo, where you can paint birch bark canoes or learn landscape painting in the style of the Canadian masters. Shop for the perfect gift in our boutique, or stop in for an artist’s talk.
Follow us here on the blog or on our social media channels to stay updated on everything happening at the gallery. Our Twitter is @AlgonquinArt, and you can stay informed on our Facebook page as well! We’ll also be sharing moments on our Instagram, @AlgonquinArtCentre, and keeping abreast of art news, travel, and nature on our Tumblr. There’s a lot of ways to keep in touch and stay informed, so follow us across all of our channels!

All in all, we can’t wait for you to join us and make 2016 a summer to remember in Algonquin.
Experience art in the park!

Off-Season Artists: Rich Baker

Sunday, March 13th, 2016

It’s here! Another post in our Off-Season Artists series, in which Alex, the guy who draws a fiery crucible full of molten data out of the web-furnace with his bare hands, interviews our favourite artists for your winter reading pleasure!
This time around, he speaks to one of
 our most fun and eclectic artists, sculptor Rich Baker

First off, it’s nice to speak with a southwestern Ontario boy with a love of the outdoors, not unlike myself! Can you tell me a little bit about growing up, and the process of finding your place in the artistic world?
I was born in Grimsby Ontario and enjoyed most of my teenage years living at the base of the escarpment in Winona. I spent a good deal of my childhood exploring that Escarpment. School, much to my parents’ dismay, was never a priority for me. My mind would always be wandering, to past and planned adventures of the outdoors: hiking, cycling, walking the orchards that surrounded my home with my trusted BB gun, anything but paying attention to the task at hand… school. This is where my addiction to the outdoors and wildlife was founded. Growing up, music was always around our family. My parents met while my dad was a musician in a band. I think my mom was a groupie… she would never have admitted to that, though! The professional music phase of my life didn’t start until I was in my late twenties. I like “left turns” in life, so I packed up everything and went on the road, playing for well over 13 years. Shortly after meeting my wife Jenn, I decided it was time to put the road behind me and get serious with music and try my hand at writing songs. As far as the music industry in Canada was back then, I was one of the fortunate ones. Landing some number ones, top fives and top twenties on the country music charts. It fuelled my artistic cravings for some time. But nothing remains the same… thankfully.

I have to say, you’re certainly one of the most eclectic artists we’ve had at the Art Centre. Artist, musician, sculptor… that’s quite a roster! The only common denominator seems to be creativity. It seems that you’ve settled pretty comfortably into metalwork these days.What made you decide to focus the bulk of your attention in that direction?
I’ll be perfectly honest: metal sculpture is a bit of an anomaly. I’ve had training in welding, but this art medium… it’s a complete fluke. I believe some of the best things in life come to us that way. For me, I believe that each piece I do is a story, something I’ve seen or witnessed, experienced first hand, or heard of in the news. To me, it’s quite similar to songwriting. Rather than putting pen to paper on what I have in my mind, I hammer it out in steel… country music gone Heavy Metal, so to speak!

“Clear Cut View”

Within metalworking, you have a huge focus on animals and birds. What attracts you to wildlife?
As I mentioned in the beginning, the outdoors has always drawn me in. If I’m not in my shop working, then I’m outdoors, hiking, exploring, and trying my best not to fall into the swampy areas that surround our home. If I’m not outside, as my wife Jenn will attest, I’m staring out the window or pacing the floor dreaming about getting out there. Out here, we reside in an area that is at the base of a wonderful lake and conservation area. I’m extremely fortunate to view an amazing amount of wildlife right from my yard. Deer, wild turkey, fox, coyotes, incredible majestic wolves, and, of course, numerous birds of prey. The birds of prey have always drawn me in, probably because of my love for flying. They soar over my house and call out to one another as I watch from below until my neck gets sore. Bald Eagles, Osprey, Red Tail Hawks and Falcons, they are all truly incredible to witness on a daily basis. Each time I see the different wildlife, it’s an inspiration in it’s truest form, right in front of me. I know I’m spoiled.

Now, you’re speaking to someone who spends most of his time dealing with paintings. Sculpture is a bit of a mystery to me! I’d love it if you’d take us through your process a bit. How does a piece go from inspiration to idea to structure to sculpture? What are the challenges along the way?
I am a very visual person. Each time I see something that captures my attention, the first thing that’s going through my mind is,”how can I make that.” Usually, I’ll toss the idea around in my head for a while. Then I’ll tack up as many pictures as I can of the subject in my shop, surrounding myself with the creature, living with it for a bit. Pictures work best in lieu of bringing the actual animal into my shop… I don’t believe they’d sit still long enough. I’ve discovered that I have the ability to look at a subject and figure out the anatomy. Where this ability comes from, is part of the magic of what I do. I don’t mean to sound evasive or vague about the process, but I just start cutting metal. As I’ve often explained, it’s as if my eyes are just watching (front row seat if you will) what my hands are doing, and it comes together. For each piece of the subject, I hand cut, hammer into the shape and then weld in place. I usually start with the nose (or beak) of the creature to get the proper sizing. This alone could be up to 10 individual pieces, carefully placed together. I then work my way back from there. I see and look for the finite details in everything I do; I am not an abstract artist by any means. This is always a challenge to me, to make metal look, well, not like metal. My goal is always to create the illusion, that the closer you get to one of my pieces, the more details you will see, as if you’re right up close and personal to the animal. That is what I strive for.

“Phase Blaster”

Apart from your wildlife pieces, I notice that in the industrial pieces you have a tendency toward the use of found objects. That must be a very different process from your scratch built wildlife sculptures. Can you talk a little bit about what goes into making one of these fantastical objects?
These works, at times “Steampunkish,” allow me to use a different side of my brain. It’s like a puzzle to me. My wife and I enjoy spending time at auctions and junk yards, and it’s there that we find those unique and interesting components that inspire and become, well, anything. It usually starts with one certain piece. From that I’ll add to it, sometimes taking weeks, even months, to complete a vision. Usually, the hardest part is to know when it’s done, since the subject matter that I’m putting together is quite often fictitious. Making these type of works gives my mind and my hands a bit of a break. They aren’t very labour intensive on my hands; no cutting or pounding is usually required. I love ‘em.

“Screech Owl”

You also seem like a guy who likes to have a good laugh and some fun with his art. How does that sense of play enter into it?
I do like creating things that make people smile. I don’t consider myself a “serious subject matter” artist. I’m not trying to shock someone into seeing a point of view on anything. If someone laughs at, or with, something I’ve made, then I’ve gotten their attention, and as an artist in today’s “quick” world, I believe that’s a good thing.Today’s society is filled with a lot of painful, trying circumstances. I for one would not like to contribute to that. Art should make one smile; humour to me goes hand in hand with that.

And last but not least, what’s something fun we might not know about you?
I am a fishing fanatic, plain and simple. I was even fortunate enough to spend almost two years as a fishing guide along the Trent River system. I didn’t even mind if no one was booked for the day. That would just mean more fishing time for me!

“River Bank Bounty”

So that’s that for our friend Rich Baker! It was an absolute pleasure speaking with him…
Check back in soon for our next Off-Season Artists!

Announcing Our 2016 Theme

Monday, November 23rd, 2015

It’s been just over a month since we closed our doors on the amazing 2015 season. Since then we’ve been hard at work looking forward and into next year. Now our leadership team, Matt and Joel, have decided on a theme for 2016. We’re proud to announce that theme now…
So without further ado, here’s our introduction to the 2016 season’s show at the Algonquin Art Centre:
Metamorphosis!

 Hilary Clark Cole, “Marsh Mellow”

“All things change. Nothing remains the same.”
Since the philosopher Pythagoras said these famous words over two thousand years ago, artists from all walks of life have explored the concept of metamorphosis, how things change and transform through time.  Their creative efforts have provided us with some of the world’s most iconic works of literature, sculpture, and painting. In addition to its cultural significance, Metamorphosis also represents one of the most familiar and ubiquitous biological processes we know of, leading some thinkers to conclude that life itself is simply a series of metamorphoses.

In light of this concept’s artistic and biological significance, the Algonquin Art Centre has asked its artists to explore the theme of transformation for its 2016 show, Metamorphosis. Selected artists will explore these ideas as they apply to the landscape and wildlife of Algonquin Park and Canada’s protected lands, shedding new light on a rich, venerable, and still vibrant artistic theme.

Inspiration in Algonquin: The Great Blue Heron

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

The park’s wetlands wouldn’t be the same without their iconic bird, the Great Blue Heron. As one of the largest herons in North America, the Blue Heron is frequently spotted wading through the wetland shallows, hunting for frogs and fish with lightning-quick movements. Herons typically nest in colonies and roost in treetops near wetland areas, which allow easy access to food sources.

Artist Credit: Rich Baker, “His Mark”

Inspiration in Algonquin: The Otter

Monday, July 6th, 2015

Algonquin’s wetlands attract one of the Park’s most charismatic animals, the otter. Otters typically establish a burrow close to the water’s edge, which allows them easy access to water for their frequent hunting expeditions. Fish are their most common food source, but they sometimes add frogs and turtles to their diet. When not hunting, otters are known to be playful creatures, wrestling, chasing, and swimming together.

Featured Art: Fred Hummel, “Entangled View”

Inspiration in Algonquin: the Water Lily

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

Today’s Inspiration in Algonquin doesn’t cover an animal, but another crucial part of our ecosystem. It’s one of the most iconic plants in our ponds and wetlands, and inspires some intriguing works of art. We’re pleased to present the Water Lily!

Water Lilies are the signature aquatic plant in Algonquin’s wetlands. The most common species are the yellow pond lily and the white water lily; both play vital roles in the wetland ecosystem. They provide a sodium-rich food source for a number of wetland animals, including beavers and moose, and also provide shade and cover for fish and aquatic animals. Beyond playing a vital ecological role, their yellow flowers and snow-white blossoms add a beautiful touch of colour to the wetland environment.

Featured Piece: Hilary Clark Cole, “Aspiration”


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