Home » Sculpture in Nature: Georgian Bay, Ontario

Sculpture in Nature: Georgian Bay, Ontario

VoCA went to Georgian Bay this past weekend, and we were surprised to discover a work of contemporary art sitting on a rock overlooking the water.

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Robert Murray, Pointe au Baril II, 2003. Image: Scott Barker

The sculpture is by the artist Robert Murray, who has a cottage nearby and sits next to a lighthouse that marks the original township/community of Pointe au Baril.

The Georgian Bay community of Pointe au Baril was originally located on the north east corner of Lookout Island and the mainland, where the lighthouse presently stands. Together these two land bodies form part of the entrance channel which begins in open water to the west and threads its way through small islands to Pointe au Baril Station and Shawanaga Bay, a protected body of water that extends south to Snug Harbour and the entrance of Parry Sound.

Robert Murray grew up in Saskatoon. He attended the Regina College School of Art and studied with Ken Lochhead, Arthur McKay, Roy Kiyooka, Wolfram Neissen and Richard Simmons. He also studied at the Emma Lake Artists Workshops with Jack Shadbolt, Barnett Newman and Clement Greenberg.


The lighthouse at Pointe au Baril. Image: skerryvore.ca

Before a lighthouse and accompanying range light were built, myth has it that the early fishermen used a barrel and lantern to mark the channel, hence the name Pointe au Baril.

The piece, apparently disliked by many locals – although VoCA likes it – was commissioned by local cottagers Jasmine Herlt and Douglas Steiner to commemorate “the barrel.”

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Robert Murray, QUINNIPIAC 1974 (refurbished & reinstalled 2004.) Image: mooregallery.com

Murray lived in New York for many years before moving to just west of Philadelphia and his work is in many collections, including the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Art Gallery of Vancouver, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Montreal Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, New York the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, the Walker Art Centre, Minneapolis and the Whitney Museum of American Art.blue.jpg
Robert Murray, an early study, POINTE AU BARIL IX, 2003. Image: mooregallery.com

The sculpture’s base picks up on the rust coloured moss that it sits on, while the metal tub echoes the grey cottage nearby and the bright yellow offers sort of an ‘off’ element that engages the backdrop of green trees. The whole thing is tasteful and unusual.

Was it necessary? No. But it could have been a whole lot worse.

Robert Murray is represented by Moore Gallery, in Toronto. For more information on Murray’s work, please click HERE. Barbara Edwards Contemporary. Please click HERE for more information.

4 Responses to “Sculpture in Nature: Georgian Bay, Ontario”

  1. Robert Murray is represented by Barbara Edwards Contemporary. His upcoming show opens September 25 -October 24, 2009 1069 Bathurst Street. For more information 647 878 4444 or Barbara@barbaraedwardscontemporary.com

  2. Andrea says:

    Wow, apologies Barbara. A great artist to be representing with your new gallery!

    -A

  3. WHAT A WONDERFUL WORK SITUATED IN GEORGIAN BAY, MURRAY IS A GREAT SCULPTOR AND THE LOCALS WHOM DISLIKE THE WORK, SHOULD GET EDUCATED, AND EMBRACE THE WORK AS THIER OWN STORY BEING RE-TOLD INTO THE 21 ST CENTURY (THE BARREL LIGHTHOUSE) GEORGIAN BAY LOCALS WOULD DO WELL TO CELEBRATE THE ARTISTS WHOM STILL MAKE THE AREA HOME, FOLLOWING IN THE LONG FOOTSTEPS OF CANADA’S BEST KNOWN G 7, JOHN HARTMAN, TIM ZUCK, ROBERT MURRAY, DORIS MCCARTHY, ED BARTRAM, AND MORE ALL SHOULD BE CELEBRATED AS “LOCALS”. PEOPLE JUST NEED TO EDUCATE THEMSELVES BEYOND THE TELEVISIONS IN THIER LIVING ROOMS, THE SOONER WE CAN CELEBRATE CANADIAN ART THE BETTER OFF WE WILL BE.
    CONGRATS TO THE COLLECTORS WHO COMMISSIONED THE SCULPTURE, AND CREATED THE SO CALLED “CONTROVERSY”.

  4. pixie shaw says:

    Dear Bob,
    Dudley and I are here in Toronto, working on my new web site (terrifying work) as you know! We love your’s and the Georgian Bay photos!
    Hoping to see you in Georgian Bay, when do you go?
    We’ll bring a picnic lunch, and a pilot.
    Can we float in?
    Hoping all is well ….

    Pixie and Dud xo

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