From time to time I like to revisit the work of one of my favourite artists, and now thanks to Market Square thousands of people will be able to do that daily. Phil Savage, a sculptor from Kingston, New Brunswick is having a multi-piece work permanently installed in Saint John’s Market Square Atrium today in celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday.
The sculpture itself consists of consists of nine gray jays suspended or otherwise attached to a branch that will hang near the New Brunswick Museum. The birds are in various poses and appear to interact with each other as well as the human observer- this was inspired by the character of the gray jay itself according to Savage.
“I’ve witnessed them in the woods on winter camping trips and they are indeed a very curious, interactive bird,” say Savage.
The Gray Jay was named the official bird of Canada in November of last year, and so naturally it was selected as the subject for this sculpture. Hardman Group approached Savage last fall with the idea of a public art piece celebrating the new national bird which would be suspended in the atrium.
“I was thrilled at the opportunity to craft a piece representing Canada as well as my home city, Saint John. Some local artists that I respect and admire have had works in the market square building for decades, (Peter Powning, John Hooper) and as kid I often admired their pieces. It’s an honour to have my humble flock of carved birds in the same building as these artists.”
Savage says he purposefully chose to carve the jays in Butternut, a soft wood well suited for carving, but also a tree to native to parts of eastern Canada. The life sized birds were carved in a traditional folk style with deep relief cuts on the feathers and wings which Savage says becomes more visible at a distance.
The sculpture will be unveiled today at 4:45pm in the Market Square Atrium. To learn more about Phil Savage click here.