The Great Hare of Ontario

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This fantastic creation is the work of Canadian Artist Mary Catherine Newcomb. “The Great Hare” is a staggering fifteen feet in length and made using turf grown over compost and topsoil. It was originally created for CAFKA 2011 at the Cambridge Sculpture Garden.

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A second version was created of about half the size to reside on the floor of the Loop Gallery in Toronto. Mary Catherine has long held a fascination with the hare and it is a recurring image in her work. However, none are as striking as the massive grass sculpture.

She is a professional sculptor who works in a variety of media and has exhibited her work worldwide. She regularly has work on display in Toronto and has received numerous awards. She was born and raised in Montreal but her family moved to Ontario when she was a teenager. She has been an active member in the community for many years.

She spent a brief period working in the publishing industry before enrolling in the Fine Arts program at the University of Waterloo. She then worked as an art teacher through various local institutions and started an artist run space in the community. In 1991 she was awarded an M.F.A. from York University.

Mary Catherine was one of the founder members of the Redhead collective and also a member of Nethermind. Her supporters include the Canada Council, the Ontario Arts Council and the Waterloo Regional Arts Fund. In 2009 Mary Catherine received the K.M. Hunter prize for visual art.

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Mary Catherine freely admits that the Great Hare has given her more satisfaction than any other project. He was “planted” in early August with water bottles placed carefully to give the roots a chance to take. It was then left to grow with only minor pruning until the middle of September.

From that point the Artist spent a few days combing, cutting and adding detail to the sculpture. The eyes and nose were constructed using moss and the creature seemed to take on a life of its own. Mary Catherine was particularly delighted with the way that the finished piece equates a living plant form with a living creature of the wild.

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This was of course intentional but you are never quite sure how it is going to look and feel until you reach the final stages. The result was a great success and proved hugely popular with children and adults alike. Many similar projects have been undertaken with the sculpture left to develop in the natural landscape, although one such as this does require some maintenance.

If you would like to see more of her work visit http://www.newcombalia.ca/Site/newcombalia_home.html

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