CANMORE – Rusty welded chains and sculpted fragments of human forms have come together as one at artsPlace.
The new solo exhibit Ephemeral Romances: Love and Attachment by artist Sinéad Ludwig-Burgess opened on Oct. 30 and will remain on display at artsPlace until Dec. 13.
As one of the youngest female Canadian sculptors working with welded public art, the surreal artworks created by Ludwig-Burgess challenge viewers to question the notion of space and the human body.
Selected as the RISE Emerging Artist, Ludwig-Burgess is taking the opportunity in stride.
The RISE Emerging Artist event is held annually at artsPlace and serves as a mentorship program designed to promote Alberta artists in the Bow Valley paired with a mentorship with an art professional.
“I have really been working on honing my identity as an artist,” said Ludwig-Burgess. “Having this show as an independent artist has been a great opportunity to grow and showcase a new body of work.”
Through the RISE program, the Calgary-based sculptor has gained valuable experience in not only her artwork, but also in exhibition design and installation, writing, marketing and advertising.
“There are so many different aspects that come together to put on an exhibition, I am not just a sculptor anymore," she said. "I have proven to myself that I am capable of doing all the work and hopefully this will propel me forward in the world of art.”
The exhibition was originally slated for an April opening, but was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With the future of the exhibit up in the air, Ludwig-Burgess did not know whether it would be cancelled or postponed.
“I was heartbroken, but I continued with my work because I was so deeply invested in the project. I knew there would at least be the opportunity for a virtual show,” said Ludwig-Burgess. “Thankfully, we were able to host the show here at artsPlace as originally planned.”
That seven-month delay proved to be a blessing in disguise, admitted Ludwig-Burgess.
She said she was gifted more time to explore her creative energy in the studio, especially during the initial lockdown.
“If I had the show in April, I don’t think I would have nearly as much artistic merit that I do have in the show right now.”
Ephemeral Romances: Love and Attachment explores the emotional attachments one holds within their self and how they have an effect and resonate in our body.
The artwork is a mixture of sculpted rusted metal chains and painted clay.
“The rusted chains represent the unhealthy attachments we're bound to, which we may be conscious of, or that are so deeply rooted in our subconscious, making the reason for our anxiety and fears unconscious to our conscious selves,” said Ludwig-Burgess.
“The fragmented ceramic human forms painted in semi-contrasting tones on either side depict these unconscious attachments coming to the surface, the point of acknowledgment.”
Ludwig-Burgess said she chose to focus on the core parts of the body, such as the chest, stomach and head. She described these areas of the body as “feeling centres” for difficult emotions like pain, or grief, but also joy and happiness.
The idea for the exhibit has been on Ludwig-Burgess’ mind for the better part of five years, and it wasn’t until she became the RISE emerging artist that she was able to fully explore her concept.
She said she has used the chains in her artwork for more than five years and was excited to finally exhibit them.
“I like the idea of repurposing something and giving it a new life," she said. "Working with metal is very interesting because it is malleable and can be twisted and shaped into whatever shape you want. We as humans are the same I think. We adapt and change in our lives, so I think it is neat to see that connection between the materials I use and my work itself.”
Admission to the exhibit is free, and guests can visit artsPlace from Monday to Friday, from 2-9 p.m., 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Sunday.