Landscapes out of clay

Justin
Justin Crann
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Sculptor Les Manning opens new MJMAG exhibit

In his latest exhibition, Common / Opposites, sculptor Les Manning is exhibiting what he calls the most political piece he will ever craft.

Les Manning (right) discusses one of the pieces, Landline, that is part of his new exhibit Common/Opposites at the Moose Jaw Museum and Art Gallery.

"It's called Declining Nude," Manning said Saturday to a small group of guests at his showcase in the Moose Jaw Museum and Art Gallery. "This isn't a nude body, it's a nude landscape. … This is probably the most political place I've done and will ever do."

Manning describes the piece as a statement against the devastation that has occurred in Northern Alberta.

"When Ralph Klein was in government in Alberta, before he became Premier, he was Environment Minister," he explained. "He allowed … a Japanese firm to come in and clear-cut the boreal forest in Northern Alberta.

"We used to have 5,000 woodland caribou. Now we have 500, because their shelter is gone," said Manning.

Declining Nude is one of almost 20 pieces comprising the exhibit.

"With each piece, I'm trying to get some kind of story across," said Manning.

Some of those stories are reflections on the past, like Landline, which showcases the phone Manning grew up with when he was a boy, which he said would be interrupted every time someone opened the gate the wires ran along.

Others are tributes, like Fall Shield/Furrows and Waves and Spring Shield/Furrows and Waves, which pay tribute to the prairie fields in the respective seasons.

Common / Opposites, along with ceramics from the MJMAG's permanent collection, is on display until June 18.

You can follow Justin Crann on Twitter. 

Organizations: Moose Jaw Museum

Geographic location: Northern Alberta, Alberta

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