By Robert Mackenzie
Five famous sculptors gathered in Haliburton to talk about the influence setting has had on their work at a panel discussion Wednesday evening.
The panel was part of the Haliburton Sculpture Forest’s Sculpture Symposium festivities and included artists Mary Anne Barkhouse Jirí Genzer Mary Ellen Farrow Carole Turner and John McKinnon four of whom are currently working on a sculpture for the forest as part of the symposium.
The theme of the talk hosted by Sculpture Forest curator Jim Blake was the impact place and setting can have on a sculptor’s work and vice-versa.
When asked how much of an effect the place they sculpt has on the final product Farrow said she chooses to work outdoors whenever possible which she finds inspiration from. “I love to work outside…the studio gets so dusty and dirty you spend two hours carving and another hour cleaning up” she said. Farrow owns her own studio in Glen Williams Ont. and is known around Haliburton for A Walk in the Woods one of the earlier acquisitions in the Sculpture Forest.
Turner an internationally renowned American artist who lives in Istanbul Turkey told the story of a marble sculpture she made in Vietnam to describe the impact a place can have on her work. In her time in the country she said she became involved with a Vietnamese family who ended up fleeing as refugees. The sculpture she made was a memorial to that family’s mother and was placed near where the boats they fled the country on took off.
To finish off the panel Blake asked the artists if they believe place influences art or whether it’s the opposite. Genzer used the work he’s done in his native Czech Republic as an example of the latter. “What I created in Prague is 40 years old. It’s still in place and it’s still influencing the surroundings” he said.
Both Turner and Genzer will be creating their first permanent sculpture in Canada as part of the symposium. Barkhouse and McKinnon along with Farrow already have pieces in the Forest. McKinnon created Atmo-Sphere the large granite sphere with a hidden entrance and the bronze and steel A Conspiracy of Ravens. For her part Barkhouse created the beloved bronze dog Gelert.
The Sculpture Symposium – held in celebration of Canada Ontario and Dysart et al’s 150 anniversary – began May 24 and commissioned Turner Genzer Farrow and McKinnon to create limestone sculptures for the Haliburton Sculpture Forest over a three-week period. The Symposium ends June 13 with the official unveiling of the sculptures coming in July.