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Canmore's Bloom unveils Altered Ground

Canmore's newest work of public art, Altered Ground by local sculptor Tony Bloom, was unveiled last week

CANMORE – The most recent work of public art in Canmore – Altered Ground – has emerged from the studio of local artist Tony Bloom.

The internationally sought after sculpture artist said the project has gone through a number of changes, including to its name, as originally it was announced as Orogens. 

Bloom explained the word was one he created out of the term “orogeny,” which is the process that eventually forms mountain ranges by folding and compressing the earth’s crust. 

“Along the way there were some challenges in actually fabricating the piece,” he added. “That gave me a lot of time to kind of rattle around in the empty space on the schedule and I started changing things.”

Manager of arts and events for the Town of Canmore Chris Bartolomie said the creative process for producing public art is one that involves making a lot of decisions, and then sometimes changing your mind.

But it was important to respect the artist’s creative process along the way, especially since Bloom has lived in the community for the past 50 years.  

“I think we went down a lot of paths, but at the end of it all, it kept circling back to how it was designed, so I guess confirming the right decisions were made early on,” Bartolomie said. “But if you don’t go down those paths and explore them and rule them out, you don’t know that you have made the right decision.”

The sculpture, located along Fairholme Drive near the Spur Line Trail, has been in the works for over two years, but it was important for the artist to get this installation right, as he will have to see it everyday too.

“I am two blocks that way and this is my route downtown,” Bloom said with a laugh Sunday (Sept. 27). 

The 12-foot tall metallic structure represents the processes that occur deep underground when the structure of the earth changes. He said the balls represent materials and gases that get caught up inbetween the layers of material underground. 

“I call this the fossil wall,” Bloom said standing next to the sculpture. “The idea is that as the ground drops away, as this has done, you get a rock wall exposed and in this case it is full of fossils.” 

The artist, however, acknowledged the work of art has brought up a number of images for those who attended its unveiling this past weekend. Bloom said all interpretations of this new artistic form are welcome.

“I know the starting point, but where it ends up is up to you guys,” he said. 

Tanya Foubert

About the Author: Tanya Foubert

Tanya Foubert started as a news reporter at the Rocky Mountain Outlook in 2006. She won the Canadian Community Newspaper Award for best news story for her coverage of the 2013 flood. In December 2018, she became editor of the Outlook.
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