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 Sorel Etrog  (1933 - )

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Lived/Active: Ontario / Canada      Known for: sculptor-mod form, abstraction

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Ad Code: 2
Sorel Etrog
from Auction House Records.
FAMILY GROUP
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Sorel Etrog's sculpture probes the relationship between man and machinery and attempts to illustrate an expressive intersection between the individual and industrialism.  The machinery of the manufacturer become the tools of the artist. Steel plating, sheet metal, bolts, rivets and hinges are prominently featured in this work of industrial art, illustrating contact, tension and articulation.

The sculptor has a fascination with the industrial themes of the twentieth century and asks the viewer to see that even the most utilitarian objects of our creation also have at least some artistic and expressive component.

One of his pieces, Space Plough II, has a strong but simple steel construction, a basic triangular shape and is painted in that recognizable cautionary orange of heavy duty industrial machinery.  Etrog's trademark central hinge is also prominently featured.  At first glance the piece might look like something left behind by a road crew.  "Is this just a plough?" a viewer might wonder. It is a justified first impression.  But Etrog makes us reconsider and ask a different set of questions with a different sort of emphasis: Is this just a plough? Or, Can a plough be art?  These tools we have made and used to such great practical success- - do they speak for us? Is this our art?

"Arguably the most critically celebrated Canadian sculptor alive today, Etrog's impressive and multi-faceted career has spanned more than 40 years.  In that time he has been prolific as a sculptor, a painter, an illustrator, a poet and a film maker. His work has been displayed at major international galleries around the world from Israel to Singapore, from India to Switzerland. In North America his position is secure in many of the most prestigious private and public collections, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, as well as the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa and Le Musee des Beaux Arts in Montreal.

For decades Etrog's sculpture has played an important role in the development of the Canadian Arts. In 1988, he was commissioned to represent Canada with a sculpture for the Summer Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea. In 1994, the Government of Canada donated the sculpture "Sunbird" to Normandy, France, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the liberation by Canadian forces. In 1967, Etrog was commissioned by Expo in Montreal to create two large sculptures for the World's Fair and in 1968 he was asked to create the small statuettes which would serve as the Canadian Film Awards. Though these awards are now more famously known as "The Genies," they were originally called "Etrogs."

Throughout his career Etrog has been closely associated with many of the twentieth century's greatest thinkers and artists.  He has collaborated with distinguished international literary figures Samuel Beckett, and Eugene Ionesco and also maintained a close working relationship with Canada's famed communication theorist Marshall McLuhan.  In 1995 Etrog was named a Member of the Order of Canada and in 1996 was appointed Chevalier of Arts and Letters by the Government of France.

Courtesy: Department of Parks and Recreation, 2450 McDougall Street, Windsor, Ontario: parkrec@city.windsor.on.ca.

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