Walk About Kingston with Martello Alley -Episode 1 - Queen's University Sculptures

Kingston is a beautiful city. It’s also very walkable. I often walk downtown and along the water, and see so many people taking in the warmth and charm of this city we live in. The part I enjoy most is the discovery of the art, historical plaques, and other points of interest.

As a public service to visitors and residents of our city, I decided to start sharing through a video log what I have happened upon.

Queen’s sculpture

For the first video I decided to highlight sculptures on the Queen’s University campuses. Information about the sculptures was obtained from the Queen’s University website ( http://www.queensu.ca/camplan/siteart/ ) I am including the maps as well as the details about the sculptures from the Queen’s website below. 

Enjoy your walk about Kingston as you take in the sights and sounds of this beautiful city. And don’t forget to visit us at Martello Alley. We are located at 203 B Wellington Street, just north of Princess Street. Just look for the bicycles!

Our first video “Martello Alley Presents - Walk About Kingston” features sculptures at Queen’s University. You can see the video by going to this link





West campus map


Main campus map 

Here is more information about the sculptures and the artists ( source: http://www.queensu.ca/camplan/siteart/sculp.html ):

André Fauteux
(Canadian, b. 1946)
Untitled, 1973
Donated by Gesta Abols, 1985
Located on the northeast wall of the Biosciences Complex

On the occasion of André Fauteux's ten-year retrospective at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre in 1982, curator Karen Wilkin described his work as "a continuing conflict between a Platonic sense of the ideal and a modernist appreciation of the unpredictable." This tension is evident in Fauteux's Untitled. The artist's customary sculptural materials, slender beams of steel, are assembled to produce the long central rectangle. At first glance, the sculpture appears symmetrical. However, the slight curvature along the width of the sculpture and the short arm protruding on the right reveal that it is not. This subtle and elegant form hovers between the ideal and the deviant.

Article: The Biosci Box
by Catherine Hale, Queen's Journal

Victor Tolgesy
(Canadian, b. 1928, Hungary - 1980)
Pyramidal Structure - Sakkarah, 1971
Commissioned by the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, 1971
Located on the plaza west of Jeffery Hall

Victor Tolgesy was born in Hungary and emigrated to Canada in 1951. Sakkarah was commissioned by the Department of Mathematics for the sunken courtyard on the east side of Jeffery Hall. For this site, where the sculpture would typically be seen from above, Tolgesy chose to work with a pyramidal structure as it would not suffer perspectival distortion when viewed from a height. Sakkarah, a purely formalist sculpture, is about the intersection of two forms: the sphere and the pyramid. The artist's self-imposed restraint of visual motifs creates a lyrical quality where one shape responds to the other in a visual rhythm. When repairs were made to the courtyard, the sculpture was moved to its present location.

Article: The Big Orange Triangle
by Catherine Hale, Queen's Journal

Alan Dickson
(Canadian, b. 1937, England)
Five Sculptures on Topological Themes, 1972
terrazzo, portland cement, marble chips, epoxy
Commissioned by the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, 1971
Located south east of Jeffery Hall

Alan Dickson was trained at the Slade School of Fine Art in England. He emigrated to Canada in 1970 to become a professor of Fine Art at Queen's University. Soon thereafter, Dickson was commissioned by the Department of Mathematics and Statistics to create Sculptures on Topological Themes as part of an initiative to enhance Jeffery Hall and its surroundings. In these forms, Dickson investigates the concept of infinity as represented by the phenomenon of the mobius strip, a physical structure that is paradoxically both three-dimensional and one-sided.

Article: The Donut on the Pole
by Catherine Hale, Queen's Journal

William Vazan
(Canadian, b.1933)
The Three Observed, 1992
sand blasted granite
Gift of Dr. Michel D'Avirro, 1992
Located on the front lawn of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre


As a land artist working during the 1960s and 1970s, William Vazan made conceptual works that articulated the intimate relationship between humankind and the earth. In the late 1980s, he began to rout granite stones in a quarry north of Kingston near Tamworth. He uses a sand blaster to draw on the stones in a process that he describes as an intuitive expression of the aura and character of each stone. The engravings, suggestive of imagery from ancient civilizations, are interpretations of universal archetypes. In The Three Observed, the kinetic lines crossing the surface seem at odds with the immense size and weight of the boulders, creating an unusual quality of frantic energy inhibited by paralysis. Vazan's work fuses natural form with imagery borrowed from ancient traditions to suggest a unifying energy permeating matter and human culture.

Article: Big Weird Rocks
by Catherine Hale, Queen's Journal

Micah Lexier
(Canadian, b. 1960)
A Minute of My Time
(September 29, 1998 15:04-15:05), 1999
water-jet cut stainless steel
Commissioned with the support of the Millennium Arts Fund of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Chancellor Richardson Memorial Fund and Thyssen Marathon Canada Limited, 1999
Located on the east wall of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre

The New York-based conceptual artist Micah Lexier explores the themes of identity and time in A Minute of My Time, a monumental piece commissioned to mark the passing of the millennium. It belongs to a continuing series of works begun in 1995, based on automatic drawings completed in one-minute periods of time. The drawing on which this sculpture is based was created by Lexier the day he first visited the site. As such, the drawing - rendered in steel - is a record of the artist's presence in Kingston at that time. The piece is a playful graphic expression of the preciousness of each passing moment. It adorns the new facade of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, which reopened in May 2000.

Article: The Squiggle on the Wall
by Catherine Hale, Queen's Journal

Henry Saxe
(Canadian, b. 1937)
Thataway Again, 1979
Purchased with Canada Council and Gallery
Association matching funds, 1982
Located on the lawn south of Harrison-LeCaine Hall

Henry Saxe, who works north of Kingston in Tamworth, has an interest in process-driven working methods: frequently, scrap materials that are suggestive of a larger concept are his source of inspiration. Although Saxe's work is usually orderly and systematic, the arrangement of steel plates in Thataway Again has an incidental quality. This sense of folding or breakdown, combined with the use of industrial materials, gives the sculpture great vitality. Thataway Again emerged from a series of works created by Saxe in the late 1970s and early 1980s, some of which were exhibited at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre in 1983.

Peter Kolisnyk
(Canadian, b. 1934)
Ground Outline, 1978
Purchased with funds from the Chancellor Richardson Memorial Fund and Wintario, 1981
Located on the front lawn of Theological Hall

Peter Kolisnyk's minimalist and conceptual sculpture explores the processes of representation and perception. The goal of Ground Outline is to bring our attention to the surrounding environment rather than to the object itself. This piece was originally installed at Harbourfront in Toronto, where viewers were able to catch a glimpse of Lake Ontario and the surrounding harbour through its frame. Queen's campus was surveyed extensively to find a location that did justice to the sculpture: the sweeping slope in Summerhill park is a dramatic setting. By providing a frame through which one can view the landscape, Ground Outline puts the landscape on stage and heightens awareness of our presence in it.

Article: The Big White Frame
by David Missio, Queen's Journal

Raymond Spiers
(Canadian, b. 1934)
Module No.6 - Bent Yellow, 1972/73
fibreglass over foam core
Commissioned by the Art Purchase Committee for Duncan McArthur Hall, 1972
Located in the north courtyard of Duncan McArthur Hall

Bent Yellow is one in a series of works in which Raymond Spiers attempts to share the creative experience of artists with viewers. Spiers made small hand-held model sculptures, or modules, by joining simple moveable forms together in a way that allowed a variety of arrangements to be created by the viewer/participant. The Dean's Committee for Art Purchases had the opportunity to touch and move a smaller replica of the modules and select the final arrangement of the current sculpture. Bent Yellow is an enlarged replica of that arrangement, although, by necessity, the units of the full-scale piece are not moveable. The work is typical of the 1970s in its attempt to demystify and engage others in the processes of artistic creation. Also, many artists explored the use of fibreglass in this period: a new material at the time, fibreglass was seen as a strong, lightweight medium well suited to modernist aesthetics.

Jordi Bonet
(Canadian, b. 1932, Spain - 1979)
Iron Man, 1972/73
Commissioned by the Art Purchase Committee for Duncan McArthur Hall, 1972
Located in front of the south entrance to Duncan McArthur Hall

Jordi Bonet was born in Barcelona and moved to Quebec in 1954. He is known for large ceramic murals, in which rustic, sometimes representational imagery similar to that used in Iron Man is deployed. This work was commissioned on the completion of Duncan McArthur Hall and was made specifically for this location. In Iron Man, Bonet attempts to reconcile twelfth-century Romanesque and twentieth-century Cubist aesthetics. The triangle patterns decorating the smooth surfaces at the top of the sculpture are reminiscent of Picasso's use of similar motifs, while other textures suggest the rustication on Romanesque sculpture and fortifications. As well, the proportions of the work recall the massive, upright figurative sculptures of the Romanesque period. The result is a decorative combination of modern and medieval sensibilities.


More information about "Bent Yellow" (source: https://www.kingstonist.com/culture/bent-yellow/ )

This is the second installment of our look at large scale artwork in Kingston. This week’s piece is called Module No. 6 – Bent Yellow and was created by Canadian artist, Raymond Spiers. The work sits in the north courtyard of Duncan McArthur Hall on Queen’s campus and was commissioned by the Art Purchase Committee for Duncan McArthur Hall in 1972.

The story behind this one is pretty cool. Bent Yellow is one of a series of pieces in which Spiers attempts to share the creative process with the viewer. He created small, hand-held versions of simple, moveable forms which could be put together in various arrangements. The Dean’s Committee for Art Purchases had the opportunity play with the modules and to select the final arrangement of the sculpture. The work we see above is the enlarged replica of that arrangement. Of course, the large-scale version is not in moveable pieces like its miniature counterpart.

The work is a great example of the hands-on approach that was explored by many artists in the 1970s. The goal was to engage the viewers in the creation process. Bent Yellow is made of fibreglass over a foam core. Fibreglass was a new material at the time and was heavily explored by artists of this period. Seen as strong and lightweight, it was the perfect medium for this type of work. Go see it for yourself!