New Kelowna Art Gallery sculpture to promote discussion around city's car culture | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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New Kelowna Art Gallery sculpture to promote discussion around city's car culture

The Kelowna Art Gallery has a new art installation titled Gold, Silver & Lead.

Pedestrians and motorists will encounter a striking new sculptural art piece the next time they’re at the corner of Water Street and Cawston Avenue in downtown Kelowna.

The sculpture is a project the Kelowna Art Gallery has been working on for the past three years and has kept under wraps until last week.

Gold, Silver & Lead was acquired as a gift to the Kelowna Art Gallery’s permanent collection in 2019 and has now been installed outside of the gallery.

The 25-foot-tall sculpture features seven abstracted car bodies stacked vertically, rising in a minimalist form. The cars, crafted from epoxy coated steel plate, appear to deteriorate and disassemble as they climb upward, becoming nearly unrecognizable by the time they reach their highest point, according to the art gallery's press release.

The piece was originally offered to a few different cities across Canada and the artist eventually selected Kelowna to have the artwork, said Nataley Nagy, executive director of the gallery.

“I think the donor really liked its location and I think the white between The Sails and the Dolphins was an interesting juxtaposition, it’s right there in the middle,” she said, adding Kelowna also has a big car culture. 

The artist behind the sculpture is Canadian Jed Lind whose work has been exhibited extensively throughout North America. Gold, Silver, & Lead was originally presented at the Toronto Sculpture Garden 30th Anniversary exhibition in 2011.

“I have always been drawn to installations and large-scale sculptures for how they engage and immediately confront the viewer,” Lind said in the press release. “The thing I love about public art is the variety of perspectives that come to an artwork, which is very different than showing in a gallery or museum. Ultimately, I am not concerned with the takeaway of the piece, but that it causes pause, reflection, or even confrontation.”

The car frames in the monument are based on the body of the iconic 1979 Honda civic and captures the spirit of its original design as a modern, yet humble, car of the future. The civic was designed as a response to the oil crisis of the 1970s when much of North America was forced to ration available gasoline. At that time of big cars and high consumption V8 engines, the fuel-efficient civic was seen as a hopeful way forward, according to the gallery.

Its slogan, “Think Simple,” lends itself to Lind’s act of taking this symbol of mobility and progress and paring it down to the basics, he said.

“Gold, Silver & Lead, I hope, poses questions about obsolescence, minimalism, salvaging, and deterioration,” Lind said. “Like a stack of stones marking a trail, it represents a fork in the road where humanity could have chosen a simpler existence… yet here we are today.”

Equal parts philosophical and architectural, Gold, Silver & Lead invites viewers to reflect on their own movement, their destination, and society’s connection to the urban and natural environments.

The piece will be in Kelowna for the next 10 years, Nagy said.

“Instead of saying it’s going to be there forever… I think the idea was to give it, it seems like a long time, but it’s not forever. I’m totally into its longevity with the time and effort that was spent but I think people need to understand that we’re thinking, ever-changing. The world changes too just like art does... so its relevance now may not be the same within 10 years."

Lind divides his time between Toronto and Los Angeles and exhibits widely in North America and abroad.

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