Eyes on civilization

Modern Fuel scrap metal sculpture gives a sobering reminder about the masterful energy of Mother Nature

TH&B’s exhibition Resurrection depicts the damage of the Great Ice Storm of 1998 through sculpture and film.
TH&B’s exhibition Resurrection depicts the damage of the Great Ice Storm of 1998 through sculpture and film.
Photo: 

It would seem disaster had struck in Modern Fuel’s Main Gallery art exhibit.

Hamilton art group TH&B’s exhibition Resurrection combines sculpture and film to convey the conflicting relationship between nature and modern urbanization.

Created by Simon Frank, Ivan Jurakic, Dave Hind and Tor Lukasik-Foss, the sculpture — a fallen electrical tower — stood under a dim spotlight, immediately grabbing my attention.

Resembling the aftermath of the 1998 ice storm which hit Ontario and Quebec, the tower was mangled across the floor like old scrap metal. Initially, this piece seemed like a simple recreated depiction of the storm’s wrath.

But, as I walked and followed the metal rods lain on the ground, some seemed to burrow in, resembling tree roots.

A dark, sap-like liquid seeped out of the tree roots, surprising me with its metaphorical purpose. The sap seemed to symbolize not only damage the Great Ice Storm had caused the urbanized world, but also in nature. The liquid form conjured images of blood in my mind and proved to be a painful reminder of the pain and suffering destruction by natural disasters can ellicit.

This symbolic imagery caused me to identify the sap tap to the left of me, where a picture of the fallen tower was posted on a clipboard on the wall.

The ‘blood’ used by the artists was clever, but I failed to fully acknowledge the purpose of the sap and picture until I saw the video behind me.

The projected video personified Mother Nature as artists, who moulded the tower into their own image. Like ice latching onto metal, the paper tower was helplessly deformed by the artists.

TH&B’s sobering piece surely puts civilization in its place, forever fearing the beautiful, but also unrelenting wrath of weather and climate. The artists have clearly acknowledged their role in nature and use this piece as a physical remnant of the storm and a metaphorical reminder.

The final thematic message I got from the exhibit was one of hope, renewing a faith in nature’s ability to constantly reinvent itself and move forward even from the most tragic of disasters.

TH&B’s Resurrection is on exhibit in the Main Gallery of Modern Fuel until Feb. 23.

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.