by Edith Cody-Rice

On Saturday April 29, Sivarulrasa Gallery held a vernissage for three artists, aptly naming it Trio.

The trio of artists are sculptors Deborah Arnold and Russell Baron and painter Mirana Zuger.

Deborah Arnold is best known for her stunning creations in stone. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, she has been sculpting stone in Almonte for over twenty years. “I feel a fundamental connection to stone,” she says. “Stone has always been the starting point for my work. As a material it embodies strength and history while possessing an innate grace and power.”She departed from stone for a major work in this exhibition, a stunning bronze piece cast from the bark of an old spruce tree that grew in her front yard. She noticed and chose the piece as the house and yard carry many memories and she muses on  what memory means to all of us and in what it resides. Although the piece looks abstract from a distance, the bark is clearly visible on closer inspection,

Deborah Arnold and her spruce bark bronze Photo by Edith Cody-Rice

Russell Baron works in bronze and the foundation for his artistic process lies in his prairie roots. He draws inspiration from psychology, the humanities, and mythology to temper the organic forms of his subject matter. “The driving force that compels me to create is the tension point between immanence and transcendence,” he says. He has completed many public and private ecclesial sculptural commissions at churches throughout Canada and the United States, including his most recent 2015-2017 installations at the Sisters of St. Joseph in Toronto. The exhibition featured several of his detailed smaller works, all versions of Icarus falling after his wings melted in the sun. In Greek Mythology, Icarus is the son of Daedalus, the master craftsman who created the labyrinth for King Minos. He tries to escape Crete in a pair of feather and wax wings fashioned by his father. He is warned not to fly too close to the sun, which may melt the wax in the wings, but in his elation, he does just that, that wax melts, he wings disintegrate and he falls to his death in the sea.

Bronze casting is an intensive process involving modelling in clay, plaster and wax before pouring the bronze to create the image. The Icarus bronzes are exquisitely detailed with classical beauty. In the largest wall mounted piece, Russell has fashioned one of Icarus’ wings as a bat wing. He explains that the reference was taken from Leonardo da Vincis’ notebooks on flying where he took the wing of the only flying mammal, a  bat, to use as a model for human flight.

Russell Baron and his Icarus sculptures. Photo by Edith Cody-Rice

Multidisciplinary artist Mirana Zuger was born in Ottawa of a Croatian father and French Canadian mother. She is an artist familiar with the international scene, having completed artist residencies in Croatia and France, and having recently completed her Masters in Fine Art at Queen’s College, City University of New York.  In adulthood she visited  Croatia  for the first time, was excited by the colours of the Adriatic coast and began to incorporate much brighter colours in her work to the surprise of Croatian artists who, traumatized by the Baltic war, tend toward browns, greens and reds. She includes sculpture, choreography and design with dance companies in her repertoire. She has lived in Queens where she engaged in  artistic outreach, working with art programs with and for individuals struck by autism.  The works included in this exhibition are large brilliantly painted canvases.  She says that her work frequently comes out of her experience slowly in small drips until a canvas is formed.

Mirana Zuger chats with gallery owner Sanjeev Sivarulrasa and Croatian Ambassador Marica Matkovic. Photo by Raymond Dubois.

The gallery was packed with art lovers and the curious. A delicious spread of hors d’oeuvres were elegantly presented to tempt guests as they wandered through this high quality space. Sivarulrasa Gallery along with General Fine Craft, Art and Design raises the tone and profile of Mill Street. They have helped Almonte establish a reputation as a centre for fine quality art and artisanry.

Photo Gallery 

left to right: Gallery owner Sanjeev Sivarulrasa and artists Deborah Arnold, Russell Baron and Mirana Zuger pose in front of a Marina Zuger painting. Photo Raymond Dubois.
Mississippi Mills Mayor Shaun McLaughlin chats with a visitor at the vernissage (far right) Painting by Mirana Zuger on the gallery wall. Photo by Raymond Dubois.


Russell Baron and his Icarus sculptures. Photo by Edith Cody-Rice
Two bronze Icarus sculptures by Russell Barron. Note that the sculpture in the forefront has two images of Icarus, one of his flight and on the obverse, his fall. Photo by Edith Cody-Rice
Icarus by Russell Baron
Almonte art collectors Marie Traversy and Hesch Hanley admire Russell Baron’s Icarus sculpture. Photo by Edith Cody-Rice