Linda F. | August 28, 2014
I love outdoor sculpture. You feel freer: you’re out-of-doors, you can walk or run around with children of any age in any season and in any weather. The sculpture isn’t limited by the size of gallery and in a public place it can be seen by many more people.
In 1985, Eric Dewdney, Co-ordinator of Cultural Services, had a very practical reason for planning an outdoor exhibition of sculpture: the Cambridge Gallery was closed for major renovations. The resulting exhibition of nine sculptures, Community Sculpture ’85, was set up along the riverbank, mainly between the Concession and Park Street bridges (one installation, River Jewel by Gerhard Harpe, was actually in the river). Most of the sculptures were conceived as ephemeral, but two of them remain nearly 30 years later. One is the steel spiral sculpture by Andreas Gehr now in the Cambridge Sculpture Garden, and the other one is the black sculpture of 9 arranged lengths of wood by Haydn Llewellyn Davies (1921-2008). Davies’ sculpture was originally placed between Cedar Street and St. Andrew’s Street on the south side of Grand Avenue, but in 1996 it was moved near Idea Exchange at the corner of North Square and Grand Avenue.
Davies designed his sculpture for the British Columbia Symposium “Wood Sculpture of the America.” His title for his sculpture “Symposium Piece for Eva” reflects the 1977 BC symposium and is a tribute to his wife Eva. In his artist’s statement for the 1985 exhibition, Davies wrote that the piece was a turning point in his work, “a departure from the volumetric character of previous sculptures to one in which emphasis is placed as much on void as on mass.” This sculpture is certainly more linear than Davies’ earlier works. Mary Misner, the present Gallery Director, notes that the Symposium would also look well constructed in metal. Davies worked in both wood and steel and perhaps this wooden piece was a model for a larger metal version, but for now the wooden sculpture is well maintained.
Haydn Davies was born in Rhymney, Wales, but moved to Canada with his family at an early age. He graduated from the Ontario College of Art in 1947 and made his home in Toronto. His artistic career began with graphic design and advertising, but from 1976 on it was devoted it entirely to sculpture. Other examples of his work are Algoma Blue, which stands outside the Art Gallery of Algoma in Sault Ste. Marie, and Composition with Five Elements at the Windsor Sculpture Park. Further information about him may be found here.