Each year a local artist is selected to showcase three or four sculpture works in front of the Shaw Conference Dream.big centre. This year’s local artist is Royden Mills and he is showcasing four pieces on the North wall of the Shaw Conference Centre on the Plaza walkway. Mills received his Masters in Fine Arts from the University of Alberta, a diploma in Architecture from NAIT, lived in Japan for two years, worked on various arts committees and has taught sculpture and fine arts in and around Alberta for the last eighteen years. Bending Moment is Mills abstract portrayal of the moment of awareness.
The four statues of worn metal stand tall amidst the concrete backdrop of downtown. A twisted, warped, and overflowing feeling shines through, but I still don’t know if I’ve become totally aware of all the things that have been hidden from me. The thing with abstract art and me is that I have to read up on the artist, get a feeling for what he/she is about and then go and look at it. Still, after all that research, the message the artist is trying to portray loses me a little. I feel this way with all abstract pieces. Maybe my mind doesn’t work in these scenarios, or maybe I should just sit back, relax and enjoy the visions in front of me that I know I could never possibly create.
Mills' use of texture and metal was something I had not seen before. In one particular piece it looked like a gigantic larva was about to explode all over the sidewalk. Maybe this larva was meant to depict the bottled up emotion of humanity or maybe it was just a larva. Hidden compartments in what looks a little like a mini grain elevator made me feel explorative as well as reminiscent on the forlorn prairies. The twisted metal trying to escape the heavy anvil it is attached to begins speaking to me. And are we not all attached to something that we’re trying to get away from? Maybe I do understand abstract art…it’s just going to take some time in understanding.
Erin Carter is Prairie Artsters 2008 summer intern