Imagine the Stories

Imagine the Stories by Rabi'a and Carl Schlichting

Year: 2016
Medium: Rusty steel, some glass mosaics
Price: $14,000
Dimensions: height12'x width12'x depth4'
Provenance: Winlaw, BC

Rabi'a Gonzalez & Carl Schlichting

Rabi'a Gonzalez & Carl Schlichting

Winlaw, BC

Sponsored by Vista Radio

“Real community is built on stories, both real and imagined.”

The two Slocan Valley artists partner on their interactive architectural work displayed this year. Rabi’a has been in every show since Sculpturewalk was launched in 2010; Carl has had a number of entries over the years. Both are talented metalworkers. Here they combine skills and styles to create a piece full of interesting objects and unleashed creativity.

Two tenement-like structures form the main body of the installation. Walls (one mirrored), roofs, windows and doors of varying sizes and shapes abound in rusted steel – the theatre set-like structures are positioned and welded together to portray depth and story potential settings. The taller angular structure is countered by the uneven rooflines of those adjoining it, a chimney and TV antenna breaking the horizontal lines. Two themes emerge in the sculpture. A more abstract, highly urban side with high-rise downtown elements. The other theme depicts a more intimate community and its trappings.

It is the detail affixed to the structure and inside that really makes Imagine The Stories so impressive, and true to its name.

An interior window features an ornate metal balcony rail fronting a window with weathered wooden shutters, one open. A metal figure stands in the opening, on the balcony. The entire window and balcony are framed in a brilliant mosaic of red, blue, green, black and white glass.

Below and offset are steps and a wall with stylized metal figures standing on and leaning against them, respectively. On a shelf is a metal galleon and pot, both complementing an abstract metal screen of concentric circles. Above the stairs is right-angled, bright blue overhanging roofing.

A bird perches on a high windowsill, oblivious to the clothesline dancing with brightly coloured garments just outside. In another location a tricycle and handmade mail box can be seen; elsewhere, a two wheeled bike leans against a wall along with a potted plant. All the images are made of metal, some with splashes of colour, others deliberately left rusted.

Imagine The Stories is full of surprising little details that support the main body of work. It also reflects the philosophy of both the artists – reuse and recreate with what is at hand. “The piece started out a lot simpler in its model state,” says Rabi’a, laughing. “We just kept adding little flourishes here and there, items that hint at the title.”

As their nameplate states: “Real community is built on stories, real and imagined.” They interpret the interaction and proximity of close neighbours and their stories very well with the sculpture they collectively fashioned, infusing it with vibrant additions that significantly enhance.