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Catherine Widgery

The Passing Song

1992
Presentation of the artwork
A dome formed of steel pieces shaped like beaver pelts and organized in a swarm around an open central point is installed in René-Lévesque Park. Twelve masts anchored in the ground surround or support this structure, which is erected on a circle of slabs. On the slabs, maps of waterways used for trade in New France are represented in bas-relief.

The work’s motifs are inspired by history: the animal pelts in the hut evoke the fur trade, whereas the design on the slabs depicts the watercourses used for their transport.

Passing Song is inseparable from the experience that it provokes. It invites the public to take refuge under the dome, which amplifies the sound of the wind passing through it. Confronted with this enhanced sensorial reality, viewers paradoxically enter into contact with culture and history. In fact, “Passing Song” is a Cherokee expression that refers to the wind heard when a spirit leaves a person’s body to take flight in nature. The artwork refers to the invisible trace of this evanescent memory.
Associated events
Passing Song was first displayed at the first Salon international de la sculpture extérieure, an event organized by the Centre des arts contemporains du Québec à Montréal in 1992 for the 350th anniversary of the foundation of Montréal. With the theme “Aux quatre vents” (To the Four Winds), this exhibition of monumental and environmental sculptures brought together 12 artworks, created specially for the occasion, on the promenade of the Old Port of Montréal. At the end of the event, Widgery’s artwork was installed at its permanent site, in René-Lévesque Park in Lachine.
Catherine Widgery
Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Catherine Widgery graduated from Yale University in 1975. Her sculptures beckon to the senses of viewers because of their integration of light and wind.

Widgery’s public art projects update the relationship between nature and human culture and encourage its integration with the environment. This is the case for Light Storm (2005), produced at the Mesa Arts Centre in Arizona, and Pass Through The Land (2001), in Denver, Colorado.
Awards and honours
  • premier prix pour Tidal Song, TGK 2012 International Competition, 2012
  • membre, Académie Royale des arts du Canada, 2002
  • Merit Award for excellence in design, The Advertising and Design Club of Canada for the, 1998
  • Cum Laude & Special Distinction in Fine Arts, Yale University, 1975
  • Walker Prize, Fine Arts Faculty, Yale University., 1975
Presentation of the artwork
A dome formed of steel pieces shaped like beaver pelts and organized in a swarm around an open central point is installed in René-Lévesque Park. Twelve masts anchored in the ground surround or support this structure, which is erected on a circle of slabs. On the slabs, maps of waterways used for trade in New France are represented in bas-relief.

The work’s motifs are inspired by history: the animal pelts in the hut evoke the fur trade, whereas the design on the slabs depicts the watercourses used for their transport.

Passing Song is inseparable from the experience that it provokes. It invites the public to take refuge under the dome, which amplifies the sound of the wind passing through it. Confronted with this enhanced sensorial reality, viewers paradoxically enter into contact with culture and history. In fact, “Passing Song” is a Cherokee expression that refers to the wind heard when a spirit leaves a person’s body to take flight in nature. The artwork refers to the invisible trace of this evanescent memory.
Associated events
Passing Song was first displayed at the first Salon international de la sculpture extérieure, an event organized by the Centre des arts contemporains du Québec à Montréal in 1992 for the 350th anniversary of the foundation of Montréal. With the theme “Aux quatre vents” (To the Four Winds), this exhibition of monumental and environmental sculptures brought together 12 artworks, created specially for the occasion, on the promenade of the Old Port of Montréal. At the end of the event, Widgery’s artwork was installed at its permanent site, in René-Lévesque Park in Lachine.
Catherine Widgery
Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Catherine Widgery graduated from Yale University in 1975. Her sculptures beckon to the senses of viewers because of their integration of light and wind.

Widgery’s public art projects update the relationship between nature and human culture and encourage its integration with the environment. This is the case for Light Storm (2005), produced at the Mesa Arts Centre in Arizona, and Pass Through The Land (2001), in Denver, Colorado.
Awards and honours
  • premier prix pour Tidal Song, TGK 2012 International Competition, 2012
  • membre, Académie Royale des arts du Canada, 2002
  • Merit Award for excellence in design, The Advertising and Design Club of Canada for the, 1998
  • Cum Laude & Special Distinction in Fine Arts, Yale University, 1975
  • Walker Prize, Fine Arts Faculty, Yale University., 1975
Detail
Variation of title
Passing Song, The
Category
Fine Arts
Subcategory
Installation
Collection name
Public art
Date completed
1992
Mode of acquisition:
Transfer
Accession date
January 1 1992
Materials
Raw steel, concrete
General dimensions
456 x 744 cm
The Passing Song
Borough
Lachine
Park
Parc René-Lévesque