Seven artists – Chad Arney,
Matt Church, Hilary Clark Cole, Andrew Cohrs, Mikaila Davidson, Brendan
Duggan, and Deb Harkness – working in metal, have come together to
create The Iron Workers’ Union: Part 3 that will be on display at the
Chapel Gallery beginning on October 15.
“The show is a gathering of
artists with metal in the blood,” states Hilary. “We all love the
medium and enjoy exploring its endless possibilities.” The artists
included in this exhibition range from established professional artists
to emerging artists who have mastered the medium with their distinctive
The historical roots of
today’s artistic metalworkers span cultures, civilizations and the
millennia. Three thousand years after iron ore was first plucked from
the ground with curiosity to the time when the clank and clatter of the
blacksmith’s anvil ushered in the Iron Age then to the Industrial
Revolution that changed nearly everything, metalworkers have had a
profound effect on civilizations.
Metalworking techniques are
varied ranging from hammering, soldering, brazing, forging and welding
that transform metal into objects that fire our imaginations, awe us
with their beauty or encourage us to question why. “I find metal an
infinite medium. I continually challenge myself to see what might be
possible in metal and I have yet to find it,” comments Hilary.
Inspiration for their work is
as varied as the group. “I get my inspiration from everything
including mechanical and natural forms,” says Brendan. “It’s an
accumulative process that will take a lifetime to complete.” When
making pieces for this exhibition, emerging artist Mikaila, was inspired
by science fiction movies, as she wanted to “make something that
looked like it came straight out of an Alien or Predator movie,
something that could give you nightmares.” Recycled materials found
along roadsides, in the woods or trash that are left behind and
forgotten are the muse for Chad who gives these modern day castoffs new
life as fun and entertaining assemblages. Matt Church who comes from a
long line of blacksmiths wanted to create something new, to break away
from his usual way of working and force himself into uncharted
Learning their craft has
required years of schooling, mentoring, experimentation and practice.
Some, such as Deb studied at college then went on to apprentice at a
blacksmith shop for nine years before venturing out on her own. While
Brendan trained at traditional schools, most of this knowledge of
welding techniques came from working in a commercial welding shop.
Although Hilary was trained in the disciplines of sculpture and welding
at the Ontario College of Art and Design, over the years, she has often
been forced to innovate because there was no one to teach her what she
wanted to learn.
Visitors to this exhibition
will see how these seven artists are able to work with the hard rigid
metal of steel and found metal objects and transform them into
fantastical found object sculptures, mechanical works, flowers or
life-size animals. “I hope the viewer will realize how difficult and
challenging this form of art can be,” states Deb. “I hope they enjoy
the work and gets a sense of the many varied metal crafting techniques
are and how they can be put together,” adds Brendan.
The Iron Workers’ Union: Part 3 opens with a
public reception on Saturday, October 15 from 1pm until 4pm.
continues at the Chapel Gallery until November 12. The Chapel Gallery is
located at 15 King Street in Bracebridge. Gallery hours are Tuesday
through Saturday, from 10am to 1pm and from 2pm until 5pm with admission
by donation. For more information, please visit
www.muskokaartsandcrafts.com or call (705) 645-5501.