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Friday, July 16th, 2004

in search of Kent Avery

Last Fall, the auto club’s VIA Magazine ran an article about Vancouver, British Columbia. The first paragraph grabbed my attention:

For the last five years, Vancouver artist Kent Avery has spent his weekends stacking stones on the English Bay waterfront… Avery hops down off the seawall and begins to tug and lug, setting one rock atop another until he has engineered a Dr. Seuss skyline of improbable teetering obelisks, sometimes more than a hundred of them, precarious sky castles three, five, 12 rocks tall. Eventually, the incoming tide knocks them all down and Avery starts over. He leaves a tip jar on the wall beside a notebook of facts and photos. [The] book boasts, “It’s all about balance!”

Regular readers of this site may recall my penchant for creating stone sculptures. But mine are lame compared to Avery’s. I use flat stones because they’re easier to stack… whereas Avery finds the round and oblong ones and stacks them improbably on end. Check out this photo from Mike Whybark’s gallery.

During our recent visit to Vancouver, I made sure to seek out Kent Avery and his mastery of balance. We parked in the southwest corner of Stanley Park and hiked north, clockwise around the park. I quizzed every pedestrian, flapping the VIA article: “Have you seen this man?!” Everyone I asked had seen the sculptures, but not that day. It seems Avery had vanished like his ephemeral art.

kent avery has nothing on me. OK, well, never mind.I believe we found the area where he works, though, so we set about creating a few sculptures of our own. For the first time I tried to do this the hard way — I found a round stone and stood it on end on a boulder. Then I surprised myself and stacked another one on top — although not on end, alas!

posted to channel: Travel
updated: 2004-07-22 06:06:40

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