When two creative minds connect, it is almost impossible to see where one stops or one starts. The two parts become one and the lines between are blurred.
Corry Lunn and Darrel Nygaard are creative partners, in life and in art. They have the ability to tap into the same creative force field and while their work is somewhat separate, the connections run like a thread through their work.
Call them modern day archeologists. They search for the old and the unused, the rusted and tired artifacts that need a new life.
Their garden and open studio at Union Bay is a testament to the world they share. Large western red cedar burls are transformed into garden chimes that weigh hundreds of pounds but look surprisingly delicate. The earthy organic forms are combined with marine objects like portholes and chains, bells and wind chimes. A incongruous combination but one where the air wends it way through creating another dimension of art — music from the wind. Add to that benches and planters fashioned from driftwood that transform the garden studio into an artistic refuge.
“What we love is all this edge grain, that’s what makes the pieces really unique,” said Lunn referring to the large burl slabs. “We incorporate old, used, found objects and give them new life.”
Nygaard is first and foremost a woodworker. He has an affinity with the organic and transforms the ancient tree burls and slabs into large garden sculptures. The rich grain of the wood is brought out and shown as art created by nature. It has a Zen sensibility and one looks upon them with a sort of reverence. Their garden studio is a fine example of how people can use sculptures to create personal environments and inspire them to do more.
Nygaard and Lunn’s work is all about their environment — the West Coast. Some of the components in their work are resurrected from old lumber mill and marine sites, others from second hand stores and yard sales.
The commonality of the pieces is their high regard for nature. Their mediums are different but their sensibilities are the same. They have worked together on any number of pieces, combining clay with wood and metal. Some hanging works are made entirely from salvaged and found objects.
Both see the beauty in the rusted and tarnished, the usefulness now for the eyes rather than hands. Their work is always evolving and fossils are being seen in many of the new pieces.
“You get your inspiration from all over,” said Lunn.
Where Nygaard gives new life to found objects, in her own work Lunn gives life through fire and flame. Her ceramic sculptures pay homage to the natural world around her. Raku and burnished vessels, plaques and sculptures team with life. Playful otters, statuesque herons, stately ravens and peaceful Buddhas are all fueled from her aesthetic sensibility and talent. She breathes life into the art she shapes with her hands, pulling from the deep regard she has for the natural form, the fire does the rest.
Among Lunn’s newest sculptures is a Fire Phoenix, a burnished vessel featuring the bird from Greek mythology that is cyclically regenerated and reborn from the ashes of its predecessor. So it is with Lunn and Nygaard, they give new life to the remnants of the past always with an eye on the present.
“Sea Change” Wood and Pottery, their collaborative show, will open October 3 in the Oceanside Gallery at the McMillan Arts Centre, 133 McMillan Street, Parksville. An opening reception takes place from 7-9 p.m.