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  • Art of Zhen Shan Ren International Exhibition

    Location: Toronto, ON

    The Art of Zhen Shan Ren International Exhibition consists of works from internationally..
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  • Quasi-Nature

    Location: Montreal, QC

    Archive Contemporary Art Gallery is pleased to present Quasi-Nature, a group exhibition curated..
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  • Call for Installation Artists - Yonge + St. Clair Annual Fall Art Festival

    Location: Toronto, ON

    Calling all artists and designers! We’re seeking proposals for outdoor art installations for..
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  • Sculpture in Paper Masterclass

    Location: Montreal, QC

    Sculpture de papier avec Ray Besserdin Cette classe de maître permettra aux participants d’apprendre..
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  • ‘Scapes Art Exhibition & Sale

    Location: WINNIPEG , MB

    Please join me and artists Elena El, Linda Oleschuk and Connie Wawruck-Hemmett at..
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  • North Van Arts Fundraising Gala

    Location: North Vancouver, BC

    Join us for North Van Arts 50th Anniversary Fundraising Gala & take a..
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  • North Van Arts 50th Anniversary Exhibition

    Location: North Vancouver, BC

    July 25 - September 7, 2019 You are invited to join North Van..
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  • Call to Western Canadian Public Art Consultants / Curators :: Lewis Farms Facility & Park

    Location: Edmonton, AB

    Call to Western Canadian Public Art Consultants / Curators :: Lewis Farms Facility..
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  • Fraser Valley Artists- Donate your work to support mentoring!

    Location: Abbotsford, BC

    On September 26th, 2019, Big Brothers Big Sisters will be hosting a Harvest..
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  • Navigating Commissions with Kathy Traeger

    Location: Vancouver, BC

    Have you been asked for a commission but turned the opportunity down because..
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  • National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society 2019 Fall Online International Exhibition

    Location: Windsor, ON

    The National Oil & Acrylic Painters’ Society (NOAPS) invites oil and acrylic painters..
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  • Unsettling Nature

    Location: Toronto, ON

    An Exhibition at: The Garage Gallery Benmiller with Artists Jill Price, Leslie Putnam, Morag Webster..
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  • Through the Eyes of a Child

    Location: CALGARY, AB

    Artists Statement: Ed Flanagan My wife had a career as an elementary school..
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  • Exposition solo Lac-Mégantic

    Location: Lac-Mégantic, QC

    L'eau, une mine d'Art du 8 juillet au 8 septembre 2019..
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  • 13th Solo Art Series -

    Location: Palm Springs, CA

    Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery announces its 13th “Solo Art Series”..
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  • Call for Art | 3rd Annual Skies Art Competition

    Location: Palm Springs, CA

    Fusion Art invites submissions for the 3rd Annual Skies online art competition. For this..
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  • 9th Annual Online Exhibition

    Location: Palm Springs, CA

    Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery announces an art call for the..
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  • Sustainable Fashion Designer Looking for Studio Space in Mississauga

    Location: Mississauga, ON

    Hi, I'm Amanda, I am an emerging fashion designer starting my business designing..
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  • “Water” International Call - Art & Literature Journal - Deadline August 31, 2019

    Location: Toronto, ON

    | Theme: Water nourishes, cleanses, and renews. A drop of water can save..
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  • 32 Points- 32 Voices: A Compass of Peace

    Location: Toronto, ON

    32 Points - 32 Voices: A Compass of Peace International Exhibition September 6-27, 2019 Cedar Ridge..
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  • Navigating Commissions with Kathy Traeger

    Location: Vancouver, BC

    Monday 19th August 6.30 PM - 9.00 PM Navigating Commissions - Taking Fear out of..
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  • Air

    Location: Edmonton, AB

    AIR: A mixture of nitrogen, oxygen, and minute amounts of other gases..
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  • The Clock Show

    Location: London, ON

    CALL FOR ARTISTS ..
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  • Raw Materials

    Location: Humboldt, SK

    Raw Materials James M. Clow and Bony A. Conly Exhibition runs May 31st through August..
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  • Beacon Original Art Call for Artists

    Location: Calgary, AB

    Beacon Original Art invites emerging, mid-career and professional artists to participate in our..
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Public Art: The Controversy in Victoria

By Robert Amos August 12, 2003

} Public Art: The Controversy in Victoria Victoria is facing up to a new sculpture, of high visibility and considerable cost. It's far too soon to make any judgement on what our representatives have chosen for the new Memorial Place Arena and Multiplex Centre, but we can consider the various successes of other civic monuments. Sculpture was simpler when we all could agree on our values. We honoured our leaders: Queen Victoria on the Legislature lawn, the gilded Captain Vancouver on the pinnacle of its dome, Captain Cook in front of the Empress (in bronzed fibreglass), and Sir John A. Macdonald slightly tipsy on the City Hall steps. The eternal values we fought for are memorialized in military cliche (the veteran's memorial at Belleville and Government), or made haunting and aesthetic (the woman leaning against the wall of memory at Cattle Point). Since the end of the Second World War, we have had trouble agreeing on heroes, and figurative sculpture is rare. The awesomely banal nuclear family group (outside the taxation office at Pandora and Vancouver Street) is like the village of the damned, trapped atop a tall base. unnamed statue at Pandora and Cook Street Only Jay Unwin has managed figurative work for the modern age. His working class heroes prop up a marble column inscribed 'peace and harmony' outside the new Victoria Police Station. More successful artistically is his monument for the 50th anniversary at Royal Roads Officer Training College. Since we can't agree on heroes and values any longer, abstract sculpture came to save the day. In the NDP years, art abounded. Around the Royal B. C. Museum forgettable pieces honour B. C.'s 1971 centennial. Elza Mayhew's obelisk at UVIC - carved styrofoam cast in bronze - bears silent witness to... nothing in particular. Beacon Hill Park has tried to avoid donations of sculpture but somehow a black granite monolith crept in (now behind a little wrought iron fence at Finlayson Point on Dallas Road). It¹s there to commemorate the twinning of Victoria and Morioka, but as a sculpture it is a failure. In perfect counterpoint to this is Maarten Schaddellee's white B. C. marble piece, propped up like slab of white chocolate at Clover Point. The white stone is carved with many explicit meanings - even the history of the the tiny shellfish of which marble is composed. monument to commemorate twinning of Victoria and Morioka, Japan (on the Dallas Road waterfront near Ogden Point) Perhaps the most dynamic abstract sculpture in the city is a 'found object' - the crumpled keel of a steamship which ran on a rock, displayed as sculpture at the entrance to Beacon Hill Park off Douglas Street. Any sculptor making urban art in Victoria faces two competitors with enormous advantages. The totem art of the first people of the Pacific Northwest is rightly called 'one of the great plastic art traditions of the world' and it is ubiquitous. Rooted in craft and tradition, created with pride and respect, the poles of Thunderbird Park are a hard act to follow. The ill-fated 'world's tallest' pole at Ocean Pointe made it clear that this form of monumental art does always succeed. But when it has the creative power and cultural significance of Mungo Martin's 'world's tallest' pole in Beacon Hill Park, nothing can beat it. (The 'world¹s tallest' is actually in Alert Bay). The tradition and patronage of the church is legendary. Chris Wallace's windows for the Chapel of the New Jerusalem are a brilliant and impressive artwork. Ross Bay Cemetery is the finest collection of Victorian monumental stone carving in the west, all in a park setting. So you can see what a modern sculptor is up against. He or she must express our rootless, democratic, politically correct, budget-conscious age, simultaneously pleasing the man on the street and challenging the best minds of our time. Good luck. Though you might not know his name, Illarion Gallant has insinuated an enormous quantity of good artistic sense and urban planning in our town. While it is always his top notes that get the attention (the aluminium arbutus at Fort and Foul Bay, the recycled manhole covers on Douglas) in fact his sidewalk and curb designs (Yates near London Drugs) and outdoor seating (Yates and Douglas) make a genuine contribution to our town. Linda Stanbridge's intellectual and sensual ceramic wall pieces have won competitions here (the fire hall near South Park School) but aren't as visible as free-standing sculpture. I wish we knew her better. Most recently Bob Wise won the competition for the Victoria Airport. The artists are hungry for this sort of work. Regrettably, the winning entry is out of the way, slow moving and looks a bit like a beach ball. Welcome to Victoria. Which brings us to Mowry Baden's winning entry for the Memorial Place, which was announced last week. He is certainly positioned to be the winner. At the end of a long career as a professor of Fine Art at the University of Victoria, his list of exhibitions and government grants is extensive. He's made a career of public art installations, most notably under a bridge overpass in Seattle. For the Memorial Place he has designed an assemblage of rock, steel and aluminium. Baden warms us up to this odd conjunction of shapes with a folksy 'story line' about memory and hockey games. Why is there such a negative reaction to his offering? Perhaps because his last public art project met with little public approval. I refer to 'Day is for resting...', or as it is familary known, the pink mattresses. In its design stage that sculptural ensemble at Blanshard and Douglas Streets had everything to make it a winner. It's public seating. It's an ironic joke (beds!) about the hotel which it fronts. It's unbreakable. It's challenging, like modern art is supposed to be. Unfortunately, in reality it's nasty. The sad bubble-gum colour of the upended mattresses hasn't improved with age. Anyone settling in for a comfy seat is in for a surprise - what looks soft is made of concrete. The large and mysterious signage seems a mocking billboard, a finger in the public's face, located as it is at the entrance to Beacon Hill Park. The sign by-laws can't touch it and the 'Artist's Intellectual Rights' ensure that it will stay that way for ever. Onward with art in the age of the committee. ___________________________________________ Copyright © 2003 Robert Amos Robert Amos is an artist and art writer who lives in Victoria, B.C.. He can be contacted by e-mail and you can view his paintings at www.robertamos.com