BANFF – Celebrating the regal beauty of horses, the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies will be introducing audiences to two of their Unbridled artists before the exhibition comes to a close at the end of January.
Artists Cedar Mueller and Pascale Oullet will be meeting with guests for the Unbridled exhibition's featured artists talk on Saturday (Jan. 18) as part of the Banff Gallery Hop. The event runs from 2-4 p.m. and the duo will be hand to speak with guests about their work.
“It’s all about the horse,” Mueller said with a grin. “There’s painting and sculptures and old tack.”
She said it has been amazing to be part of the show, which concludes at the end of Jan. 26.
“I grew up on my horse,” Mueller said describing how as a young girl living in the Chilcotin region of British Columbia her time was dedicated to her equine friends. “I got a horse when I was four or five and I’ve been loving them ever since.”
She still rides as often as she can and has six horses living in Chilcotin.
“I seem to keep collecting them,” Mueller said with a laugh.
Mueller moved to the Bow Valley in 1997 and appreciates the support artists receive in the area and Alberta as a whole.
“Alberta, in general, seems to really appreciate horse and wildlife art,” Mueller said. “It’s worked out well.”
While she originally started off painting and drawing, she became fascinated with metalwork after a visit to the Dominican Republic.
“I saw these metal horse sculptures made out of scrap metal,” Mueller exclaimed. “They were amazing.”
She said she was inspired after seeing the works and set out to learn how to weld and create her own sculptures soon after she came back to Canada.
Mueller's parent's neighbour is a welder and offered to help her refine her skills so she could create the metal sculptures she envisioned.
She started off using old pieces of farm equipment and random metal pieces to create her sculptures and teach herself to weld.
“I only had an angle grinder, which means things had to have straight lines – now I have a plasma cutter that allows me to cut the flowers and other shapes," Mueller said with a chuckle, explaining how she uses tack welding to create sculptures using found metal.
Mueller said she had been wanting to create a “really big horse” for some time and the sculpture on display at the museum was created especially for the Unbridled exhibit.
“I just made sure it could fit in here – I measured their elevator to make sure it would fit,” Mueller said with a laugh. “It was as big as I could go.”
Her life-sized horse sculpture named Ferdinand is based on one of her favourite breeds, the Friesian horse.
To create Ferdinand, Mueller worked to keep the piece as open as possible while adding elements of flowers and vines to create the body of the horse.
Her goal was to capture her love of horses so she can share it with others. She aims to inspire the joy she experiences in those who see her art.
Instead of painting her sculptures, Mueller uses the colour on the pieces of metal she finds paired with the beauty of rust. On Ferdinand, all the metal comes from old cars and features their original paint.
The tail and mane of Ferdinand were created using inserts from old hot water tanks.
“I really like to find the older vehicles where the paint is mixed with the rust because it’s really pretty,” Mueller said. “I really try to focus on … the lines of the horses, so that it’s actually a really horse shape.”
Mueller described being transfixed by works that strive to create the perfect lines of the animals to the point they look almost photorealistic.
It is a challenging and exciting experience striving to capture their unique personalities and characters, she said.
“It’s so satisfying when you nail it.”