Thursday, November 19, 2009


It was the Ghost Ship (left): a remarkable piece of art - a shipwreck made from dinosaur bones, or so it looked to me. I loved it. It carried such power.

So it came as no surprise when I noticed the name of the artist on the multi unit outdoor sculpture at the Provincial Court House in London: Walter Redinger. But Xabis, a work completed decades prior to Ghost Ship is not bones but flesh, or at least, for me, it was.

Xabis, done 1974, is a direct descendent of Redinger's Caucasian Totems series. But since being completed and installed, it has been restored, refurbished and redone. I believe Xabis is a work done in fiberglass and as such it does require periodic maintenance.

But like so often happens in London, when repaired it was a new sculpture with a new outlook. The colour of the work originally recalled the soft, deep folds of the flesh of heavy nudes. It used to take me back to my art school days in Detroit, Michigan.

Now, the work is more of a stone grey and the forms seems less organically right for the piece. The look is now one of a form imposed rather than a shape occurring naturally as the material is tugged downward by gravity.

Walter Redinger began his art training in London at the Beal Technical School and then he continued his art education at was then known as the Ontario College of Art. From there he moved to the Miensinger School of Art in Detroit.

I believe he is still and an active sculptor with a studio south west of London. A well respected artist, he represented Canada a the 1972 Venice Biennale. Redinger exhibits internationally in the United States, Italy and France to name a few. His works can be found in many museums and private collections.

It would be interesting to get in touch with Redinger and ask him about the shift in colour of Xabis.

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