Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver and Blue Horse Gallery Launch New Direction – A Sculptural Installation Created by Paul Burke and Anna Gustafson

Published on : Thursday, May 14, 2015

cq5dam.web.press.400.keepaspectratioSpring is the perfect time to consider a new direction and the latest art installation at Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver does exactly that. New Direction is the third in a series of exhibits created by artists Anna Gustafson and Paul Burke of Salt Spring Island’s Blue Horse Gallery. New Direction follows Paul Burke’s much-loved wood sculpture installation, Ghost Salmon, and Anna Gustafson’s thought-provoking How We Live, local orcas only eat salmon.

The ongoing partnership between these two well-known BC artists and Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver is a commitment to celebrate local artists and West Coast surroundings. Building on the idea of enhancing the cultural experience of guests and visitors while supporting local artists, the Hotel shares the lower lobby exhibition space with Blue Horse Gallery year-round for two exhibitions each year.

New Direction is a multi-dimensional experience that symbolises the delicate interdependence of eco-systems. It arises directly from the two previous installations at Four Seasons. Ghost Salmon focused primarily on the Pacific salmon, and How We Live, local orcas only eat salmon referred to the dependence that southern resident orcas have on chinook salmon. The artists have set their sights on the raven, the trickster of First Nations myth, who also happens to be an important player in the complex web of life in British Columbia. Along with wolves, bears and eagles, the raven scavenges, and distributes the nutrients from the bodies of the spawning salmon. These nutrients thus find their way far from the streams and rivers, to trees and plants all the way to the Rocky Mountains.

The ravens are flying over a slice of a 50-foot (15 metre) circular “labyrinth” constructed of red snow fencing. The labyrinth is symbolic of the human-built environment, both as barrier and pathway – these straight lines, tied together with steel wire, dominate the landscape. Though the ravens can’t ignore these red barriers, they can fly over the top. As the curves are gentle and wide spaced, the fence give hope that humans can also find their way toward the light like the intelligent and resourceful ravens.

New Direction is comprised of 12 large flying ravens, carved in cedar and painted with casein milk paint. The nine inside are calling and interacting, flying over concentric waves of Canadian “snow fence” made of cedar and wire, that delineate curves on the river rock. Located across from the main entrance, the three ravens flying outside are mounted from below on rusted steel tube supports. These three very animated birds are backed by the gentle sweep of the last line of snow fencing.

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