Life and Bronze
A Sculptor's Journal
Part memoir, part ‘secrets of the sculptor’s craft’, part celebration of Canadian culture and talent, Life and Bronze is the story behind Ruth Abernethy’s rich and varied artistic career. The author describes each of her sculpting projects, from opening discussion, to creation, to installation and public unveiling. We discover what the public chooses to commemorate, how a sculptor resolves clear expressions of character, and how the entire process fits into a full family life. We become privy to Ruth’s unique methods, greatly influenced by her years of stagecraft at the Stratford Festival and across Canada. We meet prime ministers, musicians, doctors, athletes—even a huge Manitoba black bear named Duke.
Ruth’s Canadian commissions include Glenn Gould at CBC Toronto, Oscar Peterson and Mario Bernardi at the National Arts Centre, Ottawa, military physician and poet John McCrae (“In Flanders Fields”) at Ottawa and Guelph, and Sir John A. Macdonald in both Picton and Baden, Ontario. Ruth’s bronze installations honour outstanding theatre artists in Stratford, Waterloo and Winnipeg and exceptional scientists and engineers in Kentville, Wolfville and in Vancouver. Life and Bronze is a lavishly illustrated record of bronze portraits created in the privacy of Ruth’s studio and let loose to live on the streetscapes of Canada.
“For any Canadian, Ruth Abernethy is a singular chronicler of our nation’s history, embodied in its most notable citizens and heroes. Her work palpably expresses our feelings for the great Canadians who shaped our history, our sense of ourselves as a people and our national psyche.
"Just as the late Yousuf Karsh was able to translate a monumental sense of emotion and identity into microscopic particles of silver halide, so Ruth has the mysterious gift of infusing bronze with an arrestingly corporeal sense of identity, personality and vitality. Bronze is her matter, and she invariably gets to the heart of it.
"It is a matter of constant pride for The Glenn Gould Foundation that Ruth has brought the intensity of her vision to our namesake, Glenn Gould, and depicted this great artist twice in such powerful, memorable and iconic ways.”
Art / Sculpture / Biography
Publication date: November, 2016