Brawn on the lawn

Swamp Ward Window presents Settle, an exhibit to provide community art in an accessible and free venue

Katie Strang’s Settle uses chicken wire to create three athletes. They represent the struggle students feel when finding their place in the world after finishing school.
Katie Strang’s Settle uses chicken wire to create three athletes. They represent the struggle students feel when finding their place in the world after finishing school.
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Katie Strang wants her exhibit Settle to interact with its surrounding environment, including the scarlet runner beans she planted. Her hope is they will complicate the meaning of the artwork.
Katie Strang wants her exhibit Settle to interact with its surrounding environment, including the scarlet runner beans she planted. Her hope is they will complicate the meaning of the artwork.
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There are three life-sized sculptures made out of chicken wire on the front yard of 448 Bagot St.

The spectacle is part of the Swamp Ward Window project that presents artwork in a location for people to pass by everyday and interact with in an unconventional way.

The current installment at the Bagot St. house is called Settle by Queen’s student Katie Strang. She created the sculpture using photographs of athletes in motion. The inspiration for the piece comes from the constant pressure recent university graduates feel to find their place in life and settle in.

Strang, BFA ’11, worked on the sculptures over the past year and showcased them in her program’s year-end show on April 16 at Ontario Hall.

“When it was over, I wanted to do more with them,” she said. “I built them with the intention of putting them outside.” Strang approached curator Jocelyn Purdie about showcasing her piece in the Swap Ward project. Purdie, who started the project in 2001, is always looking for artists to showcase their talent in her front yard.

“Being still is not the most natural form for humans,” Strang said. “I was interested in capturing movements and creating something with wire that looked almost like pencil figure drawings to me.

“Once I had figures that were almost lifelike, I wanted to put them somewhere where they would be a part of the community.” Strang had also planted scarlet runner beans around the sculpture with hopes that the plants will grow over the course of the exhibit and shape the sculptures differently.

“It’s partly an experiment to see how [the plants] change the sculpture,” Strang said. “With it growing it will look like [the sculptures] are almost running away from them.”

Purdie said her project in the front yard of her house gives Kingstonians an unorthodox opportunity to interact with art in everyday life.

‘There isn’t anything like it in Kingston,” she said, adding that the project challenges the boundaries of an art exhibit because her venue is outdoors. “This is sort of following the trend of what’s happening in bigger cities.”

There are some logistical restrictions to what artists can do on Purdie’s front yard, but mostly anything goes.

“Some of the pieces over the years have been on my porch, some outside in the front yard,” she said. “Some were night-time pieces, so they would light up and people could see the artwork inside the porch.

“It’s not a gallery, it’s just a site that people can come by and see.”

Settle will be on display at 448 Bagot St. until August and can be seen 24 hours a day.

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