We returned to the enchanting showroom of Jon Fathom in Whistler to be captured by the ‘stone carvings’ and each Marble Bear, wildlife & contemporary works of this master sculptor and his team at Fathom Stone.
After several hours of sharing life with Jon, our hearts linked to Perseverance, a very special marble polar bear sculpture by Andrew Gable, whose story about this work is summarized here. Andrew was born and raised in in Prince George, interior BC. He attended the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary.
We met Andrew at Jon Fathom’s carving studio and his artistic talents enchanted us. As well as stone sculpture, Andrew also paints, blending both realism and abstraction which complement his expressive en plein air landscapes painted directly from nature.
Andrew, which is your relationship with sculpture?
A visit to Italy and the sculptures of Michelangelo catalyzed my artistic mission. Then, when I started to work in collaboration with Fathom Stone, I discovered the great pleasure of carving in stone particularly wildlife including the marble polar bears. We live next to the Arctic, in a country covered by snow most of the time, and our souls are next to them.
You choose to work with different sources of marble. Tell us the story of “Perseverance”
The Stone I chose for ‘Perseverance’ was Canadian marble from British Columbia. I initially thought the coloration was white with very little variation. And that is in part why I decided to model my piece as a marble polar bear.
I chose a simple design because the polar bear expression has a kind of graceful and elegant simplicity to it. The idea was a white bear striding across a great white plane of snow and ice on a bright day.
As I moved into the polishing phases, I started noticing there was in fact quite a variation in the coloration of this marble that brought me to other considerations. Sometimes the intricacies and depth of coloration in a stone doesn’t start revealing itself until the final stages and it was only during the 6 stages of polishing that I noticed the real colour of the stone.
‘Perseverance’ is a marble polar bear walking across the arctic ice though a snowstorm. I based this final concept on the patterning and coloration of the stone.
The whitish bluish foundation color with the diagonal streaks of grey and amber specs within this marble gives the idea of a storm. The marble polar bear, head down, represent a powerful animal walking step by step, facing its challenging environment head on. To me this suggested a kind of ‘Perseverance’ embodied in what a creature like the polar bear must face in its day to day life to survive and thrive.
Sometimes I choose names that I can relate to, or even aspire to be!
In this case I see perseverance as a quality that would be beneficial to have. That ability to face our challenges head on, walking through storms one step at a time even though we can’t see what the outcome will be.
And the golden splashes of colour as a warm sun beyond the storm?
Yes, representing that success, if you will, that comes to those who persevere, who take it one step at a time until a project or task is complete.
Next artistic challenge?
I have a number of sculptures in the works at the moment. Everything from polar bears, to grizzly bears, to wolves. Perhaps the most significant project in the works though, is that I will also be working closely with Jon Fathom on the third life size Marble Polar Bear Sculpture. The challenge is to carve a 15000 pound block of Alaskan Marble to realize the third great masterpiece of FathomStone.