Opening reception: Friday 24 January, 2020, 6-10pm
Esker Foundation is pleased to present an in-depth look at Katie Ohe’s sculptural practice and her unparalleled approach to material, form, space, and movement.
This exhibition will bring together sculptural work spanning six decades of Ohe’s remarkable career, marking the largest and most comprehensive solo exhibition of her work to date. The exhibition will also draw from Ohe’s material archive, revealing a glimpse of a process devoted to research, inquiry, and visual or formal problem solving.
Ohe is best known for her abstract steel sculptures; organic forms that evoke the undulatory surface of a pool of water, the crest of a rolling hill or cumulonimbus cloud, or the cadence of a walking figure. The surfaces of many of these sculptures are subsequently chromed or polished, creating a flawlessly smooth exterior that conjures an illusion of weightlessness and is also irresistible to touch. Indeed, many of Ohe’s works are fully activated only by the push of a human hand. She remarks, “I want my sculptures to induce or invoke touch before you think that you really shouldn’t.”
The otherworldly seamlessness and lightness of Ohe’s sculptures belie the intricacy of their internal machinery. Each kinetic sculpture is internally engineered to facilitate a particular movement pattern. This precision is borne out of Ohe’s intimate understanding of her materials—notably steel, bronze, aluminum, and chrome—and her commitment to investigation and experimentation.
Katie Ohe is a renowned Canadian sculptor and one of the first artists to make abstract sculpture in Alberta. Born in 1937 in Peers, Alberta, Katie Ohe studied at the Alberta College of Art (now AUArts), the Montreal School of Art and Design, the Sculpture Centre in New York and Fonderia Fabris in Verona, Italy. Ohe’s work has been exhibited across Canada and internationally, in addition to numerous commissioned works installed throughout Alberta. Her work is also represented in collections including the Canada Council Art Bank, the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, the Shell Collection, The University of Calgary, and the Glenbow Museum. In 1991 Katie Ohe received the ACAD Alumni Award of Excellence Award (formerly the Board of Governors’ Award of Excellence) and in 2001 was the recipient of an honorary doctorate from the University of Calgary in recognition of her influence on art in Alberta. In 2019, she became a member of the Alberta Order of Excellence and received the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Distinguished Artist Award. Katie Ohe is represented by Herringer Kiss Gallery, Calgary.