- Hockey Schtick
Cast aluminum, glass and rubber, beer
These works are part of a series, my personal commentary on the hockey stick as a Canadian cultural icon. After completing several sticks in carved and sandblasted granite — lefties and righties as well as a goalie’s stick — I moved on to aluminum and glass, materials that are central to the game. To intensify the ‘flashy’ effect characteristic of game paraphenalia , I had the blades airbrushed with shooting stars, racing stripe motifs and the like in hot colours that mimic the bold graphics on hockey helmets. The hollow glass shafts of the sticks are filled with beer and I try to locate local micro-breweries each place the sticks are shown to supply the contents. Beyond the obvious allusion to the cultural link between hockey and beer, the shafts are formally beautiful emitting an amber glow that adds to the visual appeal. As hockey fans we are bombarded with images of the Canadian male as someone who works hard and plays hard. This is my playful shot at this stereotype and also a sincere celebration of one of our favourite national pastimes.
- Spin and Gusher
Wood, rubber and steel
Spin and Gusher are on the grand scale of my earlier ‘hockey furniture’. They also contain some of the elements of my ‘hockey schtick’ sculptures. However, they are more specific in their historic connections to artists and hockey players I admire and in their Canadian content.
Spin is essentially a tribute to hockey’s greats and its role as an expressive evolving artform. The development of the game is symbolized by the inclusion of a range of hockey sticks, from rough and prototypical to finely crafted. The sticks spiral around a central tower anchored by pucks. The implied spinning motion of the hockey sticks mirrors the action on the ice, especially the moves of the goalies. The manner in which the tower is constructed recalls Vladimir Tatlin’s Monument to the Third International. I see a connection between the form of the work and the playing styles of Vladimir Tretiak and Grant Fuhr. On one hand is the Central Red Army and on the other the Edmonton Oilers, the two greatest teams in the history of the game.
Gusher is about oil and hockey/hockey and oil. One hundred and fifty regulation pucks appear to rise up through a derrick-like construction, then explode into the air in a ‘gusher’ of black rubber. Quirky and a little ham-fisted, this wooden oil derrick is modeled on everyone’s idea of an oil well. It also mimics the rink-side constructions that burst into flame as the Edmonton Oilers come on the ice at game time. The fiery spectacle they create powers up the team and the fans, and oil’s role as the fuel for great hockey and a winning team is established.