From the layperson’s perspective (one which I happily and necessarily occupy), sculpting can seem somewhat paradoxical.
When done well, the final product can bear just enough detail and finesse to make you forget that things like wood, steel, stone and ice aren’t always the most cooperative of materials. The balance between touch, physics and grit that exists at the heart of sculpting is a delicate one, and as someone whose childhood is littered with unsuccessful attempts at building inverted snowmen, I can assure you that it will test your patience to no end.
Luckily for us, the folks at the Sculptors’ Association of Alberta (SAA) are letting us skip the toil and get straight to the “Ta-da!” with Pivot Point, an online show and sale running from May 1 to 30.
Pivot Point features over 110 works of art from about 32 Alberta sculptors. Patrons can visit the SAA website and choose from diverse works like Fran Cuyler’s Exam Time — a clay reinterpretation of Auguste Rodin’s world-famous sculpture The Thinker — or Robert Woodbury’s aptly named ode to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Hulk. Featuring sculptures made of ceramic, clay, stone, mosaic, fibre, metal and more, you’re sure to find the right piece to add a bit of oomph to your home, without having to drill a few more holes in the wall.
Pivot Point is also notable for being the first ever online show and sale in the SAA’s 35-year history.
“Prior to COVID, we had been gearing up for an active year of exhibitions, snow/ice carving, partnerships, workshops and sales — and pretty much everything ground to a halt,” says Ellie Shuster, president of the SAA. “Ice carving contracts diminished, workshops and exhibitions were cancelled or postponed. There were fewer opportunities for sculptors, so we decided to pivot online and create something new.”
Even in the midst of the upheaval of the pandemic, the folks at the SAA are staying optimistic. They also want to ensure that the name of the exhibition reflects that outlook.
“It has been a long pandemic, but with vaccines, we hope to be at the point of pivoting to a healthier time,” Shuster says. “We are turning a corner toward strength and healing, warmth and sunshine, early mornings and long lazy evenings. Pivot Point is our members’ celebration of our collective pivot toward the light.”
Proceeds from the exhibition will go towards supporting the SAA as well as its approximately 60 member artists.