1St International Public Art Symposium at Bhubaneshwar , Odisha, India

As a young Sculptor I came to learn about the great Anthony Caro at exactly the same time as I was studying the remarkable Hindu sculptures made in India. There was one master piece of Sculpture in the collection of the Edmonton Art Gallery ( Art Gallery of Alberta ) that my professor Peter Hide taught us to consider very carefully. 30 years later in November of 2018 I found myself being offered an opportunity to go to India to make sculpture. Kshitish Das contacted me and after much effort to arrange for people to cover my contract teaching at the University of Alberta, I was on the other side of the earth working flat out to make a sculpture along side 16 other international artists and some of the very most famous Indian Sculptors in that great country. I couldn’t know what tools or materials might be available, nor did I know the conditions, circumstances or people I was going to be sharing time with. I took a major leap of faith based on a feeling in my heart about Indian people based largely on the nature of the ancient stone sculptures that has stirred something in me those many years ago.

It was a very hard workload, heat and humidity and uncertainty over what materials.tools or resources made beginning anything a blind proposition, but again, take the leap of faith….measure the resources available and try to keep hydrated and maintain kidney function! There were younger artists assigned to work with the international artists, and many of them had sustainable studios of their own. I was very grateful to Rahul Bante and Akash Tirmal were two of the great young artists who impressed be very much. Rahul and I collaborated and we made a large sprawling sculpture that featured human structure holding up Natural rocks that were specific from the actual site. There were seven stones, one representing each continent and the installation that we made was done in a specific site in the new Sculpture Park with the idea that the visual vectors of a near by canopy of trees would descend, flow through the energy of the sculpture and then rise up and out the other end into a large tree outside of the walls of the sculpture park.

http://anpic.org.in/

It was a life changing trip to spend time in India and I am forever grateful to these kind, and strong people

Americans For The Arts

https://www.americansforthearts.org/2018/08/14/reflections-on-a-quarter-mile-long-public-artwork-in-edmonton-canada

https://www.americansforthearts.org/users/15590

I was asked to write about the Terwillegar Park Sculpture Installation for the organization : Americans for The Arts.  Please go and read and let me know what you think.  It is the best thing that I have ever made and during the most challenging of life events and periods of heavy commitments;  Just like some of the best work by many other artists.

I have less and less faith in the power of words to describe important things these days.  There are just so many words coming at us all of the time and other languages have better words than we have. I am beginning to feel as if one might need to learn all of the languages that a human can communicate with in order to be able to most effectively transfer feelings and meaning using word.  But learn a colour pallet well, or a proportional sensitivity....learn to use weight or texture or strength of material, and sometimes humans can feel something that is really beyond the scope of words.  I think art can carry real connotations about events and issues, but I also think those things beyond the literal speak directly to our soul.  I would like to speak to people who have a great need for that.  I would like to speak to that without using words, ...and so I do.  Or at least I try in my own humble way.

The Digital Stone Project, Garfagnanna Innovazionne, Gramalazzo Italy

Thanks to the Alberta Foundation for the Arts and the University of Alberta Faculty of Arts, I received support and encouragement to go to Italy to visit the Digital Stone Project.  Many thanks to the great Jon Isherwood and a team of excellent technicians and amazing facilities, I was able to produce a marble sculpture that I think is really strong.  The 2018 version of the Digital Stone Project included 24 Artists from all over the world.

https://www.garfagnanainnovazione.it/en/digital-stone-project-2018

https://www.digitalstoneproject.com/workshops

You can go to this web site and look for yourself.  If you are a former student of mine, you already know about Jon Isherwood and about John Hock and you know that we are trying to make our own region of the world one that is active and inspiring for its art making energy.  Many of these students have met Jon and John and gone on to make exciting things happen for themselves and for others as well.  To my mind, this is how art becomes valuable.  When the challenges of existing seem overwhelming, art can sometimes remind us that we are not alone in our search for more than just existing.  Art and the labours of physical sculpture can save lives by pointing out something that the audience may have forgotten or been overlooking about being alive.  And, at the very least, we can sometimes feel that the art speaks to us in such a way that we don't feel so alone.  We may come to feel that there is at least one other person who noticed something about being alive that we too value and so we are not alone in thinking the way we do.

Tolstoy writes of a period of life where he has so despondent that the only real option seemed like suicide and he came to feel that the practical sciences only confirmed this, his search for options using the infinite and unprovable available in god presented its own problems but eventually it was exactly in the infinite and never quite comprehensible where he found the room for hope and optimism.  I can speak about this faith in the incomprehensible in more tangible ways too, but it is true that Art saves communities and it saves lives, if only one at a time...that is more than enough reason for them to be important parts of every community.

Dr. William Lakey is largely responsible for me having my life.  He removed congenital brith defects that were threatening to kill me in an emergency surgery when I was quite young.  He did this using ground breaking technology and procedures with an open text book and a phone line to Chicago from the University of Alberta Hospital in about 1965.  Years later one of his best friends told me of a lunch break the two renowned Doctors took together on a day when life in Academia seemed simply too frustrating.  They got in the car together and decided that maybe they would go to the Edmonton Art Gallery, and as they drove they both were considering leaving Edmonton for opportunities that they had to take there skills back to the USA where they had gotten their training.  As the conversation progressed, they arrived at the front of the gallery to find a very challenging new sculpture that they had not yet seen, and they both remarked that if this place had a vision enough to bring something like that to the people rather than more straight forward orthodoxy in art, then maybe they should stick around and see if Edmonton really was THAT exciting.  They both stayed until they passed away a few years ago.  I can argue that countless lives in Edmonton, including my own were saved by them choosing not to leave Edmonton.  Obviously the art was not the only reason they stayed, however, I re-tell this story accurately and both Dr. Lakey and Dr. Von Borstiel served the University of Alberta and this region of the world for 50 years after that lunch trip where they we enthused by seeing challenging sophisticated art.

Eugene Delacroix said "  You who know there is always something new, reveal that to others in that which they may have been overlooking." .   I think that this is the challenge to all artists of all genre's and all eras, for all time.  Inspire others to see liberty in things around them, let them feel less alone and encouraged to consider their potential differently than they might have been doing.  Simple as that.

I hope some thing that I have put my heart into making might actually light a spark in some other human one day.  If this ever happens for you, and I am still alive to hear about it, please send me a note, I will feel that the sweat and blood and commitments have been validated, but until I hear of that, I will seek to make better work with the goal that I might achieve that.  

This is my first Post on My Website started October 2017

The premise that I subscribe to is that we all are most satisfied by one quality of experience regardless of what mode of life we choose to be experiencing, and that is:  We Find most satisfying that which causes us to arrive at doing something that we previously did not think we were capable of.  Basically this leans towards respecting that the audience of any art work thinks that they already know what they like but that they seek more than merely affirmation of things that they already know they like.  We want to be caused to stretch and grow, and feel more than we previously imagined of ourselves.

“Americans for the Arts” chose My recent sculptureResonant Progression an Exemplary Public Art work and here is what I said about that work.

https://www.americansforthearts.org/users/15590