You may be familiar with local sculptor James Stewart’s hyper-realist bronzes, which united us with people from around the globe by capturing their nuances and expression in the well-travelled artist’s ‘Pangea’ series. His new series of works however sits closer to home – both geographically and emotionally.
‘Drift’ is a semi-abstract series in cool white-blues which combine the essences of female form with mountain landscape. The sculptures retain just enough of the necessary to remain recognizable, and elegant craftsmanship brings rhythm and life to the smooth, transitioning forms.
The series pays homage to great European modernists like Picasso, who famously said “art is the elimination of the unnecessary”, and Henry Moore, who is frequently credited as the inventor of the hole in sculpture.
These free-flowing pieces are lyrical and emotive: Snow cascades from the curves of ‘Arch’, and flurries twist to form ‘Reclining Nude 1’. ‘Elegance’ twists and dances like an Emily Carr tree – and that’s not the only Canadian artistic influence. Epitomized by the Group of Seven, Canadian art has so long been an expression of our connection with our surrounding landscape; and these works reflect a Whistler touch in particular. Like many before and since, James gravitated to Whistler in 2014 to connect with the mountains and the lifestyle that they offer. But the mountains have influenced his art more than just providing the visually obvious references. In his own words, “Whistler gave me a space that supported the evolution of my artistic expression. If abstract art is the removal of the nonessential, the move to Whistler cleared clutter from my life and cocooned me in the essential”.
From a distance, the mountains seem solid and unchanging. But we know the mountain landscape to be in a constant state of transition – both season to season and year to year. People continue to grow and evolve this town; we must do so in a way which preserves the mountain culture: to form, in James’ words, “a mind body unity”.
I’m sure that anyone who has connected with the mountains will see the natural appeal of these pieces.
Don’t miss the upcoming feature of James’ work in Pique Newsmagazine, released December 22nd! Or come and enjoy these works on display today, only at the Adele Campbell Gallery.
It is always a brave move by an artist to embrace a creative evolution, to break away from the tried-and-tested and dive into the unknown of a new idea – but it’s what keeps the art world interesting. We’ll be using the new hashtag #ACcreativeevolution to document our artists’ exciting transitions on our social media channels.