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February 28, 2003 - Image 68

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-02-28

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"Hand IV" 1969,
etching and aquatint
on paper, artists proof
Art Gallery of Windsor.

"Reclining Figure
Hinged," 1974/75,
mixed media on paper,
Art Gallery of Windsor.
Mechanical link- and
hinge-like motifs.
combined with ballekic,
humanoid shapes.

"Walking Figure,"
1968, pastel and
charcoal on paper,
Art Gallery ofWindsor.

Monumental Artist

World renowned as an innovative creator of large-scale metal sculpture, Sorel Etrog


Special to the Jewish News


merican film fans may not
know the identity of the
artist who created the Oscar
statuette, but longtime
Canadian movie buffs are aware of the
sculptor who designed their compara-
ble Genie award figure.
The Genie, between 1968 and
1980, was called the Etrog, taking its
name from its designer, Sorel Etrog,
one of Canada's most prolific artists.
Although the name was changed
after the formation of the Academy of
Canadian Cinema & Television, its
symbolism remains strong.
The abstracted, standing figure is
likened to a tree with a sturdy trunk
that allows for growth and develop-
ment at the top. It reflects the process
that transforms an idea into a visual
reality and creates a parallel between
sculpture and filmmaking.
"I think the most important thing
for an artist is the process," says Etrog,
who was named a member of the
Order of Canada in 1994 and appoint-
ed Chevalier of Arts and Letters by the
French government in 1996.



"I don't start my work with an idea.
Ideas evolve with the process."
Etrog, 70, shows a segment of his
many processes in an exhibit at the Art
Gallery of Windsor (AGW). Titled
"Sorel Etrog" and continuing through
March 16, the display includes a wide
selection of drawings and prints
recently donated by the artist to the
permanent collection at
the gallery.
"I've donated to many
different galleries and
consider this one very
fine," says Etrog, whose
talents also are
expressed through writ-
ing. "I wanted people to
have more awareness of
my work beyond the
two garden sculptures
(Space Plough and King
and Queen) that already
are there."
The current exhibit
includes ink, charcoal and graphite
drawings as well as intaglio prints
and serigraphs. They show both the
bold application of colorful marks on
a surface and reductive techniques
that use erasers.

Hand 114 completed in 1969, and
Reclining Figure Hinged, done in
1974-75, showcase Etrog's pairing of
opposing forces, such as linearity with
volume, hard-edged geometry with
organic shapes and mass with a seem-
ing freedom from gravity.
The artist's trademarks are mechani-
cal links and hinge-like images com-'

it creates organic articulation as part of
the mechanics of the body."

Jewish Roots

Etrog, born in Romania, moved to
Israel with his family in 1950. He
studied drawing, painting, sculpture,
graphics and theater set design at the
Tel Aviv Art Institute
and had group and
solo exhibitions.
After being award-
ed a scholarship from
the Brooklyn
Museum Art School,
he met Toronto col-
lector Sam Zacks in
New York. Zacks,
who bought Etrog's
construction White
— Sorel Etrog
Scaffolding, offered
the artist a summer
studio in Ontario.
Etrog, while start-
ing to sell his work in both America
and Canada, settled in Toronto in
1963. Early influences were Paul Klee
and ornamented objects from Africa,
New Guinea and the pre-Columbian

"I don't start my
work with an idea.
Ideas evolve with
the process."

bined with human references.
"I'm mostly interested in contact
between two shapes or lines," Etrog
says. "The idea was to use devices of
contact, such as links, hinges or rivets.
The knee is a perfect hinge in the way

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