ARCHITECTURE & SCULPTURE
DAVID SORENSEN: Architecture and Sculpture
Sorensen’s initial studies focused around Architecture and Sculpture, including significant input from Arthur Ericson (U.B.C. School of Architecture), also from Lionel Thomas (artist of ceramic and mosaic murals) who sat in on some of Ericson’s design discussions and classes.
(Solar House - Eastern Townships)
At the Vancouver School of Art, Jack Harman handled sculpture and, in sync with Don Stewart, slip casting and mold making, techniques essential to the program. Sorensen also attended Bill Reid’s summer wood carving classes at U.B.C. where he received guidance along that path. Welding and casting in metal was integral at the V.S.A., especially as Sorensen assisted Harman in casting his Sun Life “Family Group” later in the training.
From the earlier 1959 travel exposure it was Maillol, then David Smith, who appealed, and by the time of graduation at V.S.A, Sorensen was included in the Northwest Institute of Sculptors show at U.B.C. with three works: a bronze bird, a life size cast figure, and a large ceramic mural of tile background. Black painted relief shapes of heavy plate metal were distributed over the surface. They were curvy, Miro-like, and formed with a cutting torch. (Mural now missing).
After Sorensen’s year in Mexico, carving Parota wood and casting bronze, and then his first one-man show, he arrived for Expo 67 in Montreal. Robert Ayer’s article in the Montreal Star clarified the focus in Sorensen’s new “GROWTH”, a sculptural series at the Youth Pavilion revealing a nature process from the seed (a Brancusi-like egg form) to a plant-like organic bronze work twisting in space.
The next stage, including shows at the Saidye Bronfman Centre (Montreal) moved toward participation of the spectator where he or she becomes an active protagonist or fun seeker in an environmental setting. Sorensen’s show “FLEXIBLE SCULPTURE” at Vehicule Gallery, the first Canadian artist run gallery, provoked passive viewers to try their hand at making their own shapes, often extensions of the artist’s. As Chantal “Pontbriand commented in a Mediart Magazine article later “ART IS NOTHING IF IT ISN’T FUN!”
(Flexible Cube, 1972 and Tunnel, Musée d'art contemporain de Montreal, 1970)
“L’ARC DEPLACE”, a one percent public sculpture, was commissioned through competition; created and fabricated, then installed, weighing 1600 pounds, in the Maurice O’Bready Pavilion (University of Sherbrooke) in 1986.
(L'Arc Deplace - University of Sherbrooke, 1986)
Around that time Sorensen was also producing the first in a series of totemic sculptures, primarily in welded or fabricated metal (corten steel), as with the one eventually commissioned for the Bishop’s University campus (1992). Small cast bronze maquettes were similarly produced at Art Cast in Ontario.
(Small styrofoam, plasters or wood maquettes, for bronze)
At the Hotel Dieu in Sherbrooke a large two-sided mural was commissioned, this leaning more toward light boxes and painting. See Rachel Lussier article re. Hotel Dieu in Sherbrooke.
As well a fountain for Hydro Sherbrooke, with electrical components included in the sculpture, was planned but not realized.
(Hydro Sherbrooke - Une Célébration De Cent Ans - Rendering by David Kepperon)