Tickets go on sale on May 1 for the raffle of a unique sculpture by Kimberley artist Rob Toller. The sculpture, made out of found pieces of steel and granite stones, is an abstract form pierced by hollow steel tubes through which the viewer may look, or through which the wind may whistle or birds take refuge once it is installed on someone’s lawn or patio. Thus its title, Portal.
Toller’s steel, stone, wood, and mixed media sculptures have become very popular with Kimberley art lovers. Several of his large pieces now adorn yards and gardens around the community. Several of them adorn spaces far removed from Kimberley, too, bought by visitors from other parts of Canada and the USA. This raffle, organized by Kimberley Arts Council’s Kimberley Kaleidoscope festival committee, gives residents and visitors to Kimberley the chance to own this powerful sculpture, valued at $2,000, for the price of a raffle ticket, just $20. There are only 150 tickets available, so the odds are pretty good.
Rob works in his back yard studio in the converted garage of the home he shares with his wife, Heather Wattie, in Kimberley. Inside the converted garage studio he transforms found materials into unique, dynamic two- and three-dimensional sculptures which evolve as he plays with the materials to see where they will go. Working by hand on an anvil, using a propane forge and electric welder, the forms he creates are only limited by the capacity of this equipment to cut, bend, and polish the materials.
Toller started sculpting about 12 years ago as a recreational hobby when he lived in High River, Alberta. It was not until after he and Heather moved to Kimberley that he first exhibited any of his work in a public gallery. As an emerging artist in 2011 he entered three pieces of steel sculpture in the Arts on the Edge adjudicated exhibition at Centre 64 and won two top prizes. He returned in 2012 as an established artist to again win a top prize. This was followed in 2013 by his first solo exhibition in the Gallery at Centre 64 in which he exhibited 29 sculptures in wood, steel, wire mesh and assorted other materials, 17 of which sold, a record for the gallery. He followed this up with a top prize in the 2013 Arts on the Edge exhibition.
Portal can be viewed in the lobby of the Centre 64 art gallery any afternoon from 1 to 5 p.m., Tuesdays through Saturdays. Raffle tickets may be purchased at the Centre 64 office during these hours or at Kimberley’s Farmers’ Market on Howard Street when it opens on June 25.