David Ducharme

Winlaw, BC

David Ducharme

Featured Sculpture

David Ducharme - Equilibrium (concrete, steel)

Winlaw artist David Ducharme's entry this year is appropriately named, spectacularly executed.

His concrete figure stretches acrobatically on a slender rod of steel, weight distributed exactly to maintain his precarious position. Best of all, through some clever mechanical engineering the figure can spin atop the metal pole it balances on.

It adds movement to the dramatic, gravity-defying piece Ducharme has fashioned. Equilibrium is awe-inspiring in its outrageous pose, made even more so by the motion achieved.

The muscularity of the head down figure balanced single-armed on the top of the pole, his other arm thrown out wide and legs splayed just right to maintain the pose, is apparent. It brings to mind the incredulity felt at seeing top tier gymnasts or skilled acrobats - how do they manage to achieve such intricate, incredible movement and hold seemingly impossible positions so effortlessly?

His stunning sculpture will appeal to those same emotions of wonderment, disbelief and acknowledgement of impressive skill.

The flexibility and agility Ducharme portrays, and accomplishes, personifies physicality and delicacy both. It is an exciting work that showcases harmony, rhythm, and intense, necessary concentration.

"In my figurative work, I strive to immerse myself in the characters I am sculpting," he says. "I attempt to expose the essence, simplicity or intensity of a moment, bringing them to life. I aim to share an appreciation for beauty as well as everyday reality with my sculpting.”

A student at the Kootenay School of the Arts in the mid-90's, he initially focused on stone sculpture, ceramics, jewelry and metal work in his artistic endeavors. He became interested in the ephemeral qualities of sculpting with snow, ice and sand, recognizing that "the inherent properties of these materials allow the carver to render an idea quickly, on a monumental scale."

Intrigued, he learned from fellow artists - there is world-class talent in the Kootenay sculpting community in these disciplines - and in 2004 was awarded first place in doubles and a second in the solo category at the World Sand Sculpting Championship held in Harrison Hot Springs, B.C.

"The wins were re-affirming, a pivotal point in my artistic development using the medium," he says. "They opened the door to international competitions and commissions, to say nothing of travelling the world sculpting in sand, snow and ice.

"I am still doing a number of international commissions, as well as across the United States and Canada, in these mediums. When I am home I offer workshops to share my experiences and knowledge of creating finite sculptures using these elements."

The accrued expertise of using materials like sand to create gorgeous - if temporary - works of art provided the bridge into exploring concrete as a new medium.

"I like the flexibility it offers," he affirms. "I can adapt and revise, change things as I go, but only within a short window of time, of course. I'm developing a series of thematic figurative sculptures that I hope speak to humanity, and human feelings and emotive traits, as a whole. Equilibrium is the first of these I've exhibited."

Lucky us - there is little doubt the rest of the series will be equally appealing. Ducharme's skill and talent in his most recent medium exploration is fully realized with Equilibrium, his fabulous, kinetic work on display here.


Artist's Sculptures