2018 Waterfowl Festival Featured Sculpture Unveiled: “The Lovers” Interprets the Grace of Avian Courtship

4 octobre 2018

The Waterfowl Festival is pleased to unveil its 2018 Featured Sculpture “The Lovers”, an elegant, impressionistic bronze created by renowned artist Éric Tardif of Canada.
Tardif, who hails from Gatineau in the Canadian province of Quebec, was at one time a naturalist in Cap Tourmente National Wildlife Area preserve along the shores of the St. Lawrence River. However, his inspiration for this piece started nine years ago in Florida, when he and his family watched in fascination as two birds enacted their courtship ritual. “It was so intense – their focus, their wing movements; it is etched in my memory,” he recounts with a bit of awe.

“I decided to bring this memory to life for Waterfowl Festival and have created two long-tailed birds – The Lovers – in a single, strong piece that expresses the rich and solemn connection and communication between the pair,” said Tardif. “I hope that it expresses their grace, calm, peacefulness and formality during a moment in time.” The Lovers bronze stands 46 inches tall and is mounted on a single base of black marble 42 inches wide and 12 inches deep and is offered at $14,000.

The natural landscapes, heritage and bird life of Eastern Canada have been Tardif’s creative muse for over fifteen years – first inspiring him to pursue his art and still today, helping to shape his perspective. Wild birds, in particular, with their natural elegance and graceful movements, continue to be the source for his inventive and unique brass, bronze, wood and stone sculptures.

While some of Tardif’s work is in brass and bronze, his primary medium remains walnut, Canadian maple, ash, cherry and elm. He does not carve or sculpt in the traditional sense; instead he bends and shapes. “I have always been intrigued by the expressive possibilities of wood,” he explains. “I am constantly researching and refining my methods. Like birds, my work is in a state of perpetual artistic migration, from what I know toward even more expressive ways to form my vision.”

Using a process called ‘steam bending’ – in which strips of wood are steamed to a temperature of more than two hundred degrees (°F), making them pliable enough to bend into curving, intricate forms – Tardif creates abstract sculptures that capture the nuances and intimacies of our feathered friends as they fly, preen, hunt and interact with each other. He notes that even the choice of type of wood “adds touches that are sometimes voluptuous, sometimes solemn” to the feeling of a piece. He will be offering smaller, wood versions of “The Lovers" at the Festival as well.

In addition to many group exhibitions around the world and solo exhibitions in Canada and the U.S., Tardif has been highlighted in the annual “Birds in Art Exhibition” at Ohio’s prestigious Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum. Early in his artistic career he won several awards in Japan and more recently has been a finalist for the NICHE Awards in Washington, D.C., an esteemed competition celebrating excellence and innovation in American and Canadian fine craft. Tardif exhibits at the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition in Charleston, South Carolina and other wildlife art events across the U.S each year.

The Waterfowl Festival