When Penticton-based artist Glenn Clark decided on a hockey theme for his six-month commission at the Kelowna International Airport, he wasn’t pandering to popular taste—he actually loves hockey! Clark’s 28-foot-high outdoor mural of the Penticton Vees hockey team, as seen in 1955, painted in the year 2000, is well known in Penticton. The artist also plays hockey himself, and is a collector of the vintage table hockey games that inspired him for his current airport installation.
For this work, he greatly enlarged the scale of the little metal players, so they are a bit smaller than life size. One of the most impressive and intriguing accomplishments of Clark’s artistry in this installation is the illusion for the viewer of being positioned right onto the ice rink. This was done with the perspective of the coloured lines on the ice surface and the changes in size of the sheet-metal players, so that the larger ones appear to be placed closer to the viewer, and the smaller ones further back in space. Any kids who ever wished they could shrink in size and join the action on the rink of their table hockey game will feel they are close to having had that wish come true.
Not just any artisMn a scale that will function well on the 40-foot-long wall that forms the Kelowna Art Gallery’s satellite space at the airport. Clark has excelled in his conception and execution of this aspect of the work. These factors, plus the artist’s skill at verisimilitude, are the elements of this piece that anyone can enjoy, whether s/he is a hockey fan or not. Those who are hockey aficionados will be fascinated by some of the historical details, for example, none of the players wear helmets, and their gear—what little there is—is incredibly old-fashioned.
Clark was born and grew up in Kelowna. He studied art at Okanagan College in Kelowna, then completed a BFA at the University of Calgary in 1991.
The artist has exhibited his paintings in several public galleries in British Columbia in both solo and group shows. His special finishing touch for his Best of Seven is an inverted cereal bowl painted black that is the puck. Go up really close and you can see the artist’s signature on its perimeter.
Glenn Clark: Best of Seven will remain on view at the Kelowna International Airport until May 5, 2014.