OSUITOK IPEELEE, R.C.A. (1923-2005)
Private Collection, Toronto, ON
This is the work of an artist pushing the very limits of his medium. Take a moment to appreciate the delicate spindles of the weasel’s hindlegs, or the slender arcs of the owl’s talons.
Osuitok has explained that he works on the finest details last—but picture those final moments! Imagine the ultimate success or failure of many hours of precise labour hinging on the ability to balance restraint and daring, to anticipate disaster, to see through stone.
To look at this sculpture is to see the precariousness of both material and subject. Predator and prey are connected in a moment of extreme violence, yet there is something almost sensual about the embrace. They form two halves of a circle, curving in and away from each other in a moment of both tension and grace. Osuitok has balanced this drama atop the tiniest base, allowing the scene to appear nearly weightless—no small feat for a sculptor of stone.