ART ON CAMPUS
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David Fels (Canadian, b. 1937)
Sailing Through Time, 2011
Reclaimed oak tree from Old Ottawa South.
Commissioned by Carleton University this year, local artist David Fels has just recently completed his sculpture, Sailing Through Time. It is so new that it has not been moved to it’s final installation site yet, so this huge, carved, abstract piece will be a real challenge to find!
The sculpture is meant to depict the university’s commitment to accessibility, and was revealed as part of a ceremony on October 27th to honour Rick Hansen and the 25th anniversary of his world tour. Fels chose a recently deceased 300-year old oak tree from Brighton Beach in Old Ottawa South for the sculpture, as a symbol of the perseverance that must accompany the challenges of life.
The artist, who has worked with trees in his art for a long time, described his excitement at the new commission: “Working with any tree is an honour, but when the tree is more than 200 years old, it is an exceptional honour,” he said. “It is almost a dialogue that you have with the material and the older the tree, the richer the dialogue.”
He used a chainsaw, chisels, and knives to carve the graceful sculpture out of the tree base. As the viewer moves around it, they are rewarded with changing shapes of positive and negative space, and the rich colour of the oak wood.
Where do you think this new sculpture should go on campus?
(With content from Eddie Rwema, “Remains of Old Ottawa South oak ready to set ‘sail,’” article on YourOttawaRegion.com, Sept. 1, 2011 and Michelle Zilio, “Carleton and sculptor David Fels embark on new project to focus on accessibility and honour Rick Hansen, in Carleton Now, September 2011.)