Artist: Sorel Etrog
17' wide x 8' high
Space Plough II provides another representation of Sorel Etrog's famous
fascination with the industrial themes of the twentieth century. The piece asks
us to reconsider its subject. It asks the viewer to try and bring machinery
into the museum, to see that even the most utilitarian objects of our creation
can possess artistic and expressive elements.
Space Plough II has a strong but simple steel
construction, with a basic triangular shape, and it is painted in that
recognizable cautionary orange of heavy-duty industrial machinery. Etrog's
trademark central hinge is also prominently featured. At first glance the piece
might look like something left behind by a road crew. "Is this just a
plough?" a viewer might wonder. This is a justified first impression. But
Etrog makes us reconsider and ask a different set of questions with a different
sort of emphasis: Is this just a plough? Or, Can a plough be art? These tools
we have made and used to such great practical success - do they speak for us?
Is this our art?
About Sorel Etrog
Arguably the most critically celebrated Canadian
sculptor alive today, Etrog's impressive and multi-faceted career has
spanned more than 40 years. In that time he has been prolific as a sculptor, a
painter, an illustrator, a poet and a filmmaker.
His work has been displayed at major international galleries around the
world from Israel to Singapore, from India to Switzerland. In North America his
position is secure in many of the most prestigious private and public
collections, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the Museum of
Modern Art in New York City, as well as the National Gallery of Canada in
Ottawa and Le Musee des Beaux Arts in Montreal.
For decades Etrog's sculpture has played an important role in the
development of the Canadian Arts. In 1988, he was commissioned to represent
Canada with a sculpture for the Summer Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea. In
1994, the Government of Canada donated the sculpture Sunbird to Normandy,
France, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the liberation by Canadian
forces. In 1967, Etrog was commissioned by Expo in Montreal to create two large
sculptures for the World's Fair and in 1968 he was asked to create the
small statuettes that would serve as the Canadian Film Awards. Though these
awards are now more famously known as "The Genies," they were
originally called "Etrogs."
Throughout his career Etrog has been closely
associated with many of the twentieth century's greatest thinkers and
artists. He has collaborated with distinguished international literary figures
Samuel Beckett, and Eugene Ionesco and also maintained a close working
relationship with Canada's famed communication theorist Marshall McLuhan.
In 1995 Etrog was named a Member of the Order of Canada and in 1996 was
appointed Chevalier of Arts and Letters by the Government of France.