"Until you have sculpted one hundred heads you will never understand the head."
- Christine (Smith) Wignall
Since graduating from the Alberta College of Art and Design in 2005, I have been building a body of work loosely based on a challenge thrown out by Katie Ohe, my favorite sculpture instructor. She said “until you have sculpted 100 heads you will never understand the head”. I have finally finished these “One Hundred Heads” and I have learned new things about the head with every one that I have done.
When I began the project I thought I would simply start and see where the muse would lead. It wasn’t until I had completed about ten heads that I began to realize who they represented and from where they were coming. My memories and imagination were giving life to the clay and each one of the heads took on the character of someone I had known while growing up in Banff in the 1940’s and 50’s. They represent the shopkeepers and skiers, cowboys and Indians, priests and Rotarians. They are the friends of my Mum and Dad and the people I delivered the Crag and Canyon to after school on Wednesdays. There are teachers, friendly and mean, and students, innocent or not. They are a lively crowd who interact with each other just as they did all those years ago.
As Pete and Catharine Whyte played a large part in shaping my life, I thought the 50th Anniversary of the opening of the Whyte Museum might be a fitting time to finally show this work. Many of these folks are dead now, a lot of them, but they do haunt my memories. They walked the streets of Banff while the museum was being planned and some of them donated land or artifacts. It is good to remember them all. Especially Pete and Catharine.
The first thirty two of the heads were done at ACAD, I did another twenty four in seven weeks at the Banff Centre and the final forty four were done in my studio at Artpoint in Calgary.
-Christine (Smith) Wignall
Image: Christine Wignall, Panorama, 2005-2008, Acrylic on clay, Collection of the artist