May 11 to June 9, 2024

RUTH ABERNETHY, “One Basket”, stainless steel and barbed wire, 28 x 48 x 48 inches


AGORA GALLERY is pleased to present an exhibition of work by renowned sculptor RUTH ABERNETHY: Join us for a special reception to celebrate the exhibition and meet the Artist on Sunday, May 26 from 2 to 4pm.

The exhibition RUTH ABERNETHY: Human Scale includes more than 20 sculptures in bronze, steel and mixed media. Highly regarded for her large scale public bronzes of notable figures in Canada and abroad, this exhibition focuses on Abernethy’s studio work, where she is free to experiment with different materials and explore more personal issues and concerns related to her life as an artist, wife, mother, daughter, friend, citizen. Of the sculptures in this exhibition, she says: “Like light coloured by a prism, our lives are delineated through experience. Thoughts on human struggle, observations of behaviour and the patterns that shape compulsion are glimpsed here in Human Scale.”

RUTH ABERNETHY grew up near Lindsay (ON). At the age of 19, she was hired as Head of Props at the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, MB. At the Stratford Festival (ON), where Ruth began work in 1981, she refined her method of 3D mapping. The success of her first bronze prompted the invitation to sculpt renowned pianist Glenn Gould, which began a definitive career change. The National Portrait Gallery acquired Ruth’s portrait bust of Al Waxman (2003) and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II unveiled Ruth’s portrait of Oscar Peterson at the National Arts Centre (2010). She was the first Canadian artist to exhibit with Sculpture in Context, Dublin, Ireland (2007), and Sculpture-by-the-Sea, Sydney, Australia (2004). For this, she was awarded a bursary from the Canadian Consulate in Sydney and was invited for a return to the Casuarina Sculpture Walk, Australia (2006). Ruth was the only Canadian artist short-listed for the Beijing Olympic Sculpture contest (2008). In addition to bronze and portraiture, Ruth’s studio works combine textiles, hand-made lace and stainless steel. Ruth began her own Canadiana Collection in 2005, seeking a broader narrative for social history. Pieces from this collection were selected for The Canadiana State Collection (Ottawa, ON), exhibited with Crossing Borders (Lockport, NY, 2005), and acquired by the Royal Ontario Museum (5 pieces, Toronto, ON, 2009). Her bronzes have been commissioned for sites across Canada and she is the only Canadian artist to have sculpted Abe Lincoln for a public site in the United States. Ruth portrayed Queen Elizabeth II, 150% enlarged, for Queen’s Park, Toronto (2023). Ruth authored Life and Bronze, A Sculptor’s Journal (2016). She was presented with an Honorary Doctor of Letters Degree from Wilfrid Laurier University (2018), and inducted into the Waterloo Region Museum Hall of Fame (2019). She sculpted Margaret Atwood, a patron of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society, and was made an Honorary Fellow of the Society, awarded the Louie Kamookak Metal (2023). Ruth continues to sculpt ideas that prompt dialogue, invite compassionate scrutiny of human experience and that hold a hint of humour!