The Haliburton Sculpture Forest’s newest addition was installed last spring, but won’t be finished for about 30 years.
At a ribbon-cutting and artist talk July 26, sculptor Gord Peteran said his wooden constructions, which make up Passage, are designed to merge with the forest that surrounds them.
“These works are out of my hands. It’s your obligation to finish them,” he said, referring both to the physical decay of the wooden creations, but also to the way visitors will interpret the enigmatic sculpture, installed in the spring of 2021.
A set of oars are affixed to a high wooden table. On each side of the table, two wooden door frames book-end the work, which is nestled in a small glade of trees.
“Tables represent gathering … the dining table is the core of the family,” Peteran said.
The artist, also responsible for crafting the iconic red doors at the Haliburton School of Art + Design (HSAD), said he delights in challenging how people view objects. The oars, for instance, could infer the table could be in motion.
“Is a table kind of like a vessel?” Peteran asked.
Passage, like most of Peteran’s work, is about humans; how and why we build and use objects.
“I look at historical craft as evidence of human behaviour,” he said, later at a talk in the great hall of the HSAD. It’s a study, he said, of “what does the human tend to do?”
Perhaps it’s a form of art that emerged from his childhood on Mountain Lake.
“What I do comes right out of that lake,” Peteran mused.
He said at lakes and cottages “something happens in the mind. The brain has a chance to explode.”
Whether his grandmother’s rolling pin or carving tools gathered from settler’s tree clearing operations in the north, Peteran grew fascinated with the objects people build.
He’s spent years constructing iconic halfmoon end tables, exploiting their shape and forming them with odds and ends from his workshop, or even driftwood and twine. “They’re basically junk,” he said. Peteran seemed bemused by how the shapes could resonate with people even if the tables weren’t functional.
Our perception of common household fixtures change, he said, if he “takes the familiar and intervenes in some tiny way.”
Peteran’s sculpture was funded by Barb Bolin, a chair of the sculpture forest.
“Every sculpture brings its own story to the sculpture forest, and connects with other stories and sculptures in such intriguing ways,” said board member Annette Blady Van Mil.
“We want to thank you, Gord, for making the stories continue.”
For more information on the Haliburton Sculpture Forest visit haliburtonsculptureforest.ca.