Calgary Art in Nature Sculpture Walk - 9th June 2001

To host any function out of doors on Mull is a brave decision - to create an entire multi media art space without a roof requires plenty of optimism. Positive thinking prevailed on Saturday 9th June when Julia and Matthew Reade hosted Calgary Art in Nature's grand opening of the Sculpture Walk. The sun shone on a superb open day that showcased new music and artwork in a woodland environment.

A marquee brimming with cheese and wine marked the entrance to the walk. After an opening speech from Mr David Winfield, some carefully draped foliage was swept aside to reveal a Narnia-like opening into the woods.

What is striking about this wood is its height and space. As the accompanying literature revealed, "…..[it] is not a truly natural wood….the trees were planted and tended, people have worked the wood and surrounding land for hundreds of years."

The sculpture pieces are placed in such a fashion that they are 'happened upon' as opposed to being sign posted. A group of carved crows hang silently from the trees above. Some steel and seaweed oystercatchers are found in a clearing with a stunning backdrop of Calgary bay. Contemporary standing stones are equally well situated, framing another view of the sea beyond.

After the sculpture walk there was a performance of a new piece of music (for 4 cellos and two voices) entitled "Daybreak on the World's End" by Wendy Weatherby and friends. The piece resonated through the woodland and, when listened to from the outskirts of the sculpture walk, blended here and there with the crashing of waves. This highlighted especially my overall impression that nothing seemed out of place. Every artwork, audio or visual, suited its context, fitting comfortably into a well-structured event.

What makes the sculpture walk so appealing is its potential. The environment itself will, in time, change the articles placed within it. They will be sculpted first by the artist and then by the 'gallery'. It will be interesting to see how future artists might harness this process with their work. In contrast, some pieces that do not blend in and deliberately fight against the elements will also be worth anticipating in this project.

Having visited a truly organic arts centre, many now look forward to seeing how Calgary Art in Nature will evolve.

© Georgia O'Neill 2001