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Craig Sibley

Winsor Gallery
Vancouver BC Oct 23-Nov 6, 2003

Craig Sibley - Leaf
Craig Sibley, Leaf (year), medium
[Winsor Museum, Vancouver, BC, Oct 23-Nov 6, 2003]

Craig Sibley grew up sailing with his family and diving commercially for sea urchins. He studied art and painting in the Okanagan Valley, and currently lives aboard his own sailboat while working as a sculptor. Small wonder his sculptures reflect a structural purity with keen attention to the details of the natural world.

Sibley’s elegant forms are clearly inspired by motifs found in nature, like seed pods, flowers, pinecones and the skeletons of small creatures recovered from beaches. But rather than seeking to duplicate natural designs, Sibley embarks on a metaphoric journey to create each piece. He replicates wooden boat-building methods by bending red cedar strips, then fastens the pieces with copper nails and roves. Each finished sculpture is varnished with amber-coloured shellac.

Although they are large in scale, they echo the sensibility of their origins. In a piece entitled Clove, for example, Sibley repeats the same laminated line twelve times in a form measuring five feet in size. Yet the work has the delicacy and fragility of its inspiration.

Like his heroes Andy Goldsworthy and Kazuo Kaomagma, Sibley sees his sculptures as “agents of the natural world’s relationship with us.” They are exquisite in their simplicity, as if he has revealed the core essence of evolution. While critics may call the genre “post-minimalist holism” or even “post-industrial romanticism,” the beauty of Sibley’s work is timeless. The sculptures shine with the integrity and sincerity of the hand-made.

© Mia Johnson

 Wed, Sep 3, 2003