Featured Artist: Garrett Gilbart
Visit the Craft Ontario Shop and explore Garrett Gilbart's work on display in the Feature Window from October 6 - November 4, 2023.
Garrett Gilbart is a sculptor with a unique artistic approach, specializing in the creation of intricate works using salvaged steel objects, they create silhouetted forms of native wild plants and other botanical forms.
"My art pieces are various-sized organic forms, hand-cut out of sheet steel and patinated with a mixture of automotive paints and an oxidization mixture."
With a background in welding and fabrication and formal training from Sir Sanford Fleming College, NSCAD University, and the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Garrett possesses a strong technical foundation and a diverse set of skills. Their work is characterized by the use of a handheld plasma cutter, which they use to craft a variety of materials that are beyond the capabilities of most digital processes.
Garrett's work focuses on the cultural and personal significance of objects and tools, exploring the fading aura of utility and labor that these objects exude. They are also willing to create commissioned pieces using heirloom tools for individual clients, allowing them to delve into shared histories and relationships with labor, craft, and the tool object. In addition to these themes, Garrett's work often incorporates historical textile patterns and motifs from the Arts and Craft movement, and has an applied understanding of the importance of Craft to the past present and future of labour in Art.
The silhouetted forms of native wild plants and other botanical forms are carefully recreated and cut into the salvaged steel objects such as car parts, tools and other material that Garrett salvages from the forests, fields, and local barns, creating a merging of contexts and existences that offers a range of relatable experiences and a dense web of access points for viewers to engage with, both conceptually and emotionally.
"My art practice involves contrasting organic structures in taken from nature and industrial decay, specifically through the use of lichen mosses and patinated steel. By referencing the decaying cars and factories found across North America, its scrap yards and farm lands, I draw attention to the ephemeral nature of global industrial based economic models, labour rights and environmental degradation. Steel in contrast with plastics, takes only a human lifetime to return to the earth, in this way I expand on the organic nature of steel."
"Through the process of interacting with steel in its liquid form and cutting it with hand torches, I am able to draw out shapes that invoke the natural world from which steel is derived. The resulting forms resemble lichen, coral, brain synapses, and other natural forms."
"Steel is a common reflection of our planet's industrial spaces and the contamination caused by human industrial capabilities. Lichen, a primitive species of fungi is an indicator of air quality, serves as a poignant symbol of the degradation of our natural world. I hope for viewers to contemplate on the impact of boom and bust industry both environmentally and economically and on our planet and the unlikely combinations that can be found in decay."