Saturday, August 15, 2009

Nuns, Mud Wrestling and Elvis

Although I used to half jokingly refer to myself as the Village Idiot, I am capable of the occasional deep thought. We're not talking diamond mine deep, more along the lines of a Rothesay Avenue pot-hole, which can be quite abyssal. Every year the city of Saint John loses a few motorists on Rothesay Avenue, they just seem to be gobbled up by hungry PacMan shaped depressions that, on the surface, don't appear all that menacing.

In August 2007 a bus full of 'religious' pilgrims were lost while heading east on Rothesay Avenue toward the Three Mile Tavern. They entered a pot-hole and were never to be seen again. The Telegraph Journal referred to it as an 'act of god'. To me it reeked of a smiting. Sadly, the pilgrims never did get to take part in the "Rockin' Rooster Bikini Mud Wrestling" competition. They met their match in another muddy hole.

God is good.

I had a deep thought recently involving a nun and some sculpture. My pal Freeman, the Dalai Lama of photography, lent me a National Film Board DVD called 'Marie Hélène Allain en Dialogue avec la Pierre'. I thought that she was talking to some guy called Peter, until my son pointed out that 'pierre' turns to stone in French.

I don't make a habit of nun contemplation (even the thought of them scares me), and I don't usually give a chiseler's damn about sculpture, but this DVD changed everything. Apart from being beautifully filmed and edited, the film left me feeling that I understood the nature of sculpture. Of course I'll never understand nuns, let alone want to become one, but Sister Marie changed my mindset. I now look at sculpture differently, no longer as a pigeon might. I'm inspired to try my hand at sculpture.

As a busy leisurologist, you have to understand that I don't have a lot of free time. I can't just find a pierre and start carving. I haven't got the proper tools either. I decided to take an existing piece of sculpture and turn it into what I call an 'installation'. I had to take into consideration the work of art, the context, and the environment.

For seventeen years I've been the proud owner of an Elvis bust. My friend Chris gave it to me as a housewarming gift. Thoughtful guy...he gives all of his friends a charming piece of Elvis art when they buy their first home. I've never had my Elvis bust appraised, but I'm considering an appearance on the Canadian Antiques Roadshow. I think of this sculpture as my retirement fund.

Our priceless bust of Elvis had been used in Christmas installations in the past.

O come all ye faithful, let us adore the king of kings.

Most recently the king has been used to passively ward off evil spirits, and neighbours. So far he's done an excellent job on defence. I've decided, inspired by Sister Marie's brilliant work, to use Elvis as part of an outdoor installation (pictured above). I call my exhibit 'Noosehead Beer', an obvious play on words. There is a much deeper meaning to this installation, but I'm not going to divulge my Jack Handeyian deep thoughts. Art should be subjectively interpreted.

What does this sculpture installation say to you other than 'Ken Appleby, watch out', the leisurologist wants the Village Idiot crown back.

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