Bergen Rocks 2010

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Well, after hosting two successful events it seemed like the logical thing to do was to just do it again. The sculptors were having fun and creating great art works, I was having a blast putting the event on. The attending public really enjoyed witnessing the artworks being created and the sculpture park was developing into an impressive exhibit that people could visit throughout the coming years (2000 years or so). 
So I got going in September sending out calls for entry, making arrangements for supporting documents from government officials and organizations etc. With the experience of having presented 2 symposia already I had a pretty good idea of what needed to be done and the timelines for each item to be done. Everything went smoothly, it seemed that I might keep doing this for a number of years. 

The Artists

Saeid Amadi MFA

UKRAINE

Saeid holds Master of Fine Art degree from Dharkov Academy of Design and Arts. Since 1999 he has participated in many national and international exhibits and events showing graphic works as well as sculpture. Public and private works around the world include Ukraine, Iran, Poland, Russia, USA, Spain, Korea and others.

Tanja Roeder

GERMANY

After completing several programs in the arts, from 1992 to 1996, Tanja studied for three years with Klaus Weizenegger at the Vocational School of Sculpture in Bischofsheim/ Germany. She then attended the Master School of Sculpture in Munich where she earned the designation of Master Sculptor. Bergen Rocks 2010 is Tanja’s 45 international symposium. She has created monumental sculptures throughout the world. One in New Zealand is 45 feet tall. The torso is a common subject for Tanja, she now has two in Canada, one in St. Jean Port Joli in Quebec and “Reflection” here at Bergen.

Mohamad Reza Yazdi

IRAN

Mohamad graduated from the University of Tehran with a degree in Fine Arts specializing in sculpture and is a member of the Association of Iranian Calligraphers. In addition to works placed throughout his home country he also exhibited representing his country at the Sculpture Olympics in Beijing , China 2008.

Domenico Antonio (Tony) Di Guglielmo

CANADA

Tony earned a Master of Arts in Art Education at Concordia University after completing the Bachelor of Fine Arts program there. Among his awards for art are first prizes at the national Biennial symposium in Brazil, Jullienne, France and at Suderve, Lithuania. He has sculptures placed throughout the world as public art including Switzerland, Paraguay, Egypt, Russia, Turkey, Italy and others.

Peerapong Doungkaew

Thailand

Peerapong is a retired professor of fine art from Chiang Mai University in Thailand. He has participated in many symposia around the globe and is well known for his figurative work. Often animated to some degree his works are enjoyed by all ages. It was an honor for our community that an artist of such stature would create a sculpture for our area. The sculptures created at Bergen Rocks should have a life span of 2000 years or more if properly cared for, they will remain long after the memory of the event and it’s participants.

The Event

Peerapong arrived about a week before starting day, the stone came from Mabel Lake a few days later. When I showed him his stone he looked it over carefully on the truck and then started to hug it, saying “I love my stone”, a match made in heaven!

The first time Peerapong participated in Bergen Rocks he worked with sandstone and created the beautiful sculpture titled “Movement in Space”. I was so glad that he could return, this year he is using Mabel Lake marble. It might be the nicest piece we have brought off the mountain, I’m excited to see his finished piece.

For the first time Bergen Rocks participants include a lady, a sculptress. I worked with Tanja Roder in Russia a few years ago, loved the torso she created from oak and later burned at the beach alongside the lake at Christie Prudie where we were working. After the sculpture was extinguished it was installed in the lobby of the hotel, very cool. Tanja is famous around the world for her torsos, this will be her 45 international placement. She submitted 3 forms in her proposal and I chose the torso. She said she is conscious of doing so many torsos although she is a well rounded sculptress. I understand, some people ask me if all I do is buffalos. This stone has very interesting texture, I think we will see some of it left on the finished form.

Mohamad is the youngest sculptor to participate in Bergen Rocks which makes his accomplishments even more notable. He is an artistic prodigy, a poet, composer, painter, sculptor, member of the Iranian Caligraphers’ guild and a fantastic singer. All by the age of 23!! (And cows love him) This year he is making a goat, an important animal in Iranian culture. A few large cuts have been made on his stone and he has some outlines drawn. There is a lot of negative space in his finished work, I’m really looking forward to watch the development and to see the finished piece.

After getting Saeid’s stone to the site I discovered that it is split almost in two so I got busy and cleaved it before everyone arrived, it would need to be done regardless. This will require Saeid to modify his design or to come up with a completely different concept, he will arrive a week late for the symposium and will be very busy. When you are working with a natural material sometimes stuff happens. A skill sculptors must have is to able to adapt to unforeseen problems. I apologized profusely but he shrugged it off and said “That’s the way it goes sometimes”.

Tony is the first Canadian to participate in Bergen Rocks. He is doing a form that reflects Canadian culture titled “Canuck” I didn’t know that canuck is an Iroquois word that translates to “the people”, have always just known it as a name of sports teams. As we are using eratics a lot of work has to be done on most stones just to get them to the rough dimensions that they would arrive at if we were using quarried stone. You can see the cut we made with the big saw, Tony wanted to flip the stone and cut again from the other side but I thought it best to cleave it. As luck would have it (or not) the cleave took off to the outside leaving a ledge that he didn’t want and now he is drilling that to cleave it off, I still feel bad. Should always listen to your elders I guess! A lot of extra work just to get to where he can start his sculpture, he’s making headway.

Tanja is making good progress on her sculpture but still has a lot of work to do. She uses a more modern technique, chasing her surfaces as she goes. She basically cuts to the final surface rather than “fret cutting” and getting to the form a layer at a time. It is a fast way to work but you must understand your form really well as it’s easy to cut a little deep and have an OH NO moment.

Knowing that Saeid would be behind schedule because of the change to his stone and that the others would also require the use of the big saws I decided we needed another one. We gathered up material from around my shop and my yard, that my family refers to as junk, and with master fabricator/volunteer Pieter Piestra we whipped up a new one, this one hydraulic driven. The only thing we had to buy was the metal wheels under the saw carriage. I happened to have on hand; bearings, castor wheels, hydraulic motor, drive chain, sprockets, hydraulic leveling jacks and structural steel. And they wonder why I keep all that useless junk laying around! I still have lots left to make some other cool stuff with but they still want me to get rid of “all that junk” that I keep.

When Saeid arrived it took him about two days to decide what to do with his stone after it ended up thinner than expected. When he was ready to go we had to work quickly to make up for lost time and got both big saws on the job with a couple or three technicians to operate them. A day or so later he was caught up to his schedule, that was easy!

Peerapong’s “Rising Sun” has a lot of negative space, it will make the sculpture very interesting but very difficult to do. I was able to get in there with the chainsaw and make some huge fret cuts which helped but still not easy to do. I had to reach around the sculpture and get one hand in from the front and one from behind.

The big ICS stone cutting chainsaw really worked well and saved a huge amount of time for the negative spaces in Mohamad’s and Peerapong’s sculptures. Without that machine these features would likely have taken a week each, they could not have realized their work in the allotted time without it. It is really worthwhile having these gadgets for when they are needed.  

Mohamad’s form is developing, can you see the goat coming out of the stone now?

Volunteer Chris White and I have worked together for years in the oil industry, another job where innovation often gets you through a difficult task. Tanja needed some cuts made on the top of her stone, it turned out to be easier to raise the saw than reposition the stone.

Volunteer Chris White and I have worked together for years in the oil industry, another job where innovation often gets you through a difficult task. Tanja needed some cuts made on the top of her stone, it turned out to be easier to raise the saw than reposition the stone.

The profile of “Canuck” is pretty much complete and now there is a lot of work to do on the front and back surfaces…..a lot.

Tanja got this far into her stone and then catastrophic material failure! We found a serious crack that would surely fail over time, it was too big a risk to continue and we were already two weeks into the event. I drilled through the stone, across the crack, and we inserted a steel pin to stop the end from falling off during work. Just at this time Tanja got a message that her Dad was very sick back in Germany so she traveled home, while she was there she pondered what she could do about this problem.

“Canuck” required days of texturing. As a lot of the form has cubic edges it was too risky to use power tools to do it with them. Tony used a point chisel to make the thousands and thousands of small dimples that result in something that resembles stipple. Again, some people think art is just fun, fun, fun all day long.

Tanja is creating a different texture with a 4” flat chisel.

“The Ancient One” is almost finished, and clearly now, a goat. It seemed like he might be ahead of schedule since there were a few days left but he still had the baby to make, a kid. I told you this young guy is incredible. (And cows like him)

This is a dry fit of Saeid’s “Repression” the day before installation. Tanja returned just before the closing ceremony. While the others were taking it easy and celebrating their completions she was back in her work clothes. She decided the best thing to do was start all over and do a smaller torso in the two extra weeks that she would stay. As happens, the disaster of her stone failure turned itself around and by using the original, large and unfinished piece, she developed a sculpture like none that she had done before. So much for becoming bored with making torsos eh?

I didn’t really get any shots of her working on the second piece but suffice it to say she cut and drilled and polished for the next two weeks.

The Fun

Its not all hard work at these things, sometimes you just sit down on a comfortable pile of rocks and relax.

You never know who is going to just drop by, world famous (ranked as one of the top 10 jade sculptors in the world by National Geographic) hard stone sculptor Deborah Wilson dropped in for a couple of days. We worked together in Vietnam along with Peerapong one time, nice to catch up with old friends.

Greg McMartin, ice and wood sculptor, spent nearly the whole month at the event this year and completed several pieces. This one was interesting, hollow with a lattice pattern. We tried to convince him to let us burn it but he wasn’t having anything to do with that. It would have been dramatic with flames coming out of the negative spaces and the finished piece would look nice with the charred surfaces. Maybe next time eh Greg?

We love all forms of art. The Bergen Ladie’s Aid make beautiful handmade quilts. I invited them to bring four on frames, and we exhibited them in the loft of the barn above a large opening in the floor we use for pulling engines out of cars. They looked awesome, almost like they were flying up there. Thanks ladies, love your work.

Damian Turner, Steve’s son, got his introduction to monumental stone sculpture. He assisted Saeid through the whole event, I think he’s hooked and I appreciate his contribution.

Mohamad loved the white cowboy hat The City of Calgary gave him and he wanted to take a few back to Iran for friends. Too big for his suitcase so he stacked em up and wore them on the plane. (Cows love him)

We did our usual trips on Tuesdays and hit the Calgary Stampede when it was on. The weather was terrible but we had a great time anyway. The event they liked the best was the children’s pony riding. Teams of kids had to catch a pony with a rope and then ride it, the little horses dragged those kids all around the infield on their bellies in the mud. The bucking stock was interesting but the pony riding was hilarious.

Team Iran, they had great fun and realized beautiful sculptures that will remain for us to enjoy for centuries into the future.

Just had to share this one. Artists have so much fun, nothing like having your face and clothes covered in mud all day.

And, cows love him!!

The Sculptures

"Canuck"

Tony DeGuglielmo, Canada, Marble, 2010

Canuk is a beautifully stylized Iriquois Indian head. The style transitions from organic on the left (the face) to cubic on the right (the head dress) In addition to interest to the form this transition speaks to the transition of life in Canada since Europeans came to Canada, which transformed the way of life from living harmoniously with nature to the way we live now within a gridwork of roadways and predominately cubic building styles. 

"The Ancient One"

Mohamad Resa Yazdi, Iran, Marble, 2010

This sculpture is talking about respect and dreaming. A baby goat is looking at his father who is a magnificent billy. Maybe the big guy is represented as only his son sees him, all little boys see their father as a hero. This is the element of respect. Also, he is dreaming about the future when he will be the big guy in the herd.  

"Rising Sun"

Peerapong Duonkaew, Thailand, Marble, 2010

“Rising Sun” is Peerapong’s second sculpture in the park and was inspired by his time here in 2008. When he woke in the morning and came out to exercise on the lawn he would see the sun rising over the tree tops to the east between the two trees where this sculpture is placed. In his submission for Bergen Rocks 2010 he actually specified that if he was chosen to participate again this sculpture should be placed there. Cool that he would chose the location for his sculpture based on his memory of watching the sun rise each morning. 

"Reflection"

Tanja Roeder , Germany

A lady standing at the side of a creek or lake, beside her there is a waterfall. Directly in front of her the water is rippled but farther out there is a calm pool where she can see her reflection. 

"Repression"

Saeid Amadi, Iran, Sandstone and metal, 2010

“Repression” creates the illusion of a solid material being twisted by the pressure created by the cables and wires bending it. An analogy to the stress and strain of life in modern times. The pressures in our lives may actually cause our will and character to be twisted.