Sculpture artist fixed on the notion of motion

Growing up in a family of truckers, Randall Anderson never thought the time he spent with his father would resurface years later in his artwork.

“I’m actually having an epiphany,” he said. “This is the first time these personal references have ever been brought up in my work.”

Spending years by his father’s side on the road, Anderson was exposed to a life of being in transition. That’s the theme behind his latest art exhibition called “Primary Prototypes.” It was unveiled to the public Oct. 6 at the Toronto Sculpture Garden (TSG) on 115 King St. E.

“I’m interested in taking the object and tweaking it so it appears transitional rather than fixed,” he said.

Anderson’s work consists of three large abstract pieces, painted in primary colours, each seated on its own galvanized trailer. At first glance, you’d think it’s just abstract sculptures, but upon closer examination, and a little help from the artist, it becomes clear that these pieces are not fixed; they’re waiting to be moved.

“The word I use is potential,” Anderson said. “It’s about becoming as opposed to being, philosophically speaking, it’s not fixed.”

Upon first glance, Ina McLay wasn’t sure what she was looking at.

“It could be pieces of jigsaw, or IKEA furniture,” she said.

Anderson’s challenge of the transitional fit perfectly with the garden’s advisory board, a group of art enthusiasts who are looking for the next best thing, and who ultimately gave Anderson the green light to show his work.

Rina Greer, director of the garden, admired the performative aspect of the exhibition.

“We really liked it because it’s going out into the city,” she said. “It’s not just an art piece in an art venue, it’s an art piece on the road.”

Part of Anderson’s exhibition includes driving around with one of these pieces attached, in hopes of catching the eyes of city dwellers and provoking them to ask, “Where’s that going?”

“I want these pieces to be seen in passing, people are going to see it go by and because (the sculpture) is dynamic, people will question it,” Anderson said. “It’ll be a rupture in their expectation.”

Although Anderson’s title choice for his work may be confusing to some, Primary Prototypes is exactly what you see when you walk through the TSG.

“I like the idea about primary because it’s structuring the work, and I’m interested in this notion of prototype because prototypes aren’t fixed,” he said. “They are floating ideas, a model of an idea, it’s not the finished thing.”

Anderson’s work will be at the sculpture garden now until Apr. 15, 2011. The exhibition is open from 8 a.m. to dusk and free of charge.

Happy to show his work in a public space, Anderson is surprised how neat his sculptures look in front of a beautiful green garden coupled with the sound of a waterfall drowning out traffic noise.

“It’s a unique place,” he said. “I can’t think of any place like (the TSG) where you get this opportunity to put something in a public space.

“It’s quite extraordinary.”