Martha Sturdy

Sturdy says of her work, “by paring down to the most animal of basic shapes I ask if we can truly intellectualize the profound simplicity of our natural environment.” Sturdy’s sculptures capture a mingled sense of awe through their large scale, strength in their graphic shapes, and approachable comfort in their inviting texture, culminating in an understated elegance. 

Biography

Sculptor Martha Sturdy takes inspiration from nature in her native British Columbia, a region known for the stunning beauty of its mountains, forests, and coastline. For years she has been observing the land on her farm north of Vancouver, noticing everything from the texture of ice to the shapes of individual trees to the line of the hills, often exploring by horseback. A free-range, organic, yet meticulous sensibility infuses her sculptures: bold, clean, elemental forms executed in a revolving selection of brass, wood, steel, and resin. As in nature, simplicity and complexity are in constant tension and balance, with basic forms offset by intricate, earthy textures.

Each of Study’s sculptures radiates a unique character, a larger-than-life personality born of the artist’s sharp insights into life and nature and her willingness to let her materials speak for themselves. Ribbons of brass cascade and loop, knot and crumple, echoing life’s unexpected situations. Blackened towers made of cedar logs that she splits, chars, and finishes by hand showcase the grain and knots in the wood—the tree’s secret history. Spheres, triangles, and cubes made of brightly colored resin stack into tall, whimsical totems designed to ignite optimism in her viewers: “I am determined to influence people to look at color and how beautiful it is.”

Sturdy’s work calls to mind sculptors as varied as Barbara Hepworth, Louise Nevelson, Peter Shire, and Isamu Noguchi, the latter two of whom also combined practices of design and art. Still renowned for her wearables and furniture that she began producing after studying sculpture at Emily Carr University of Art + Design in the 1970s, Sturdy’s large-scale artworks represent a return to her roots. Her many accolades include an honorary doctorate from Emily Carr University of Art + Design, a Golden Jubilee Medal from the Governor General of Canada, a permanent installation in the Vancouver Olympic Village, a permanent installation in downtown Tokyo, and induction into the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts.

Born

1942 Vancouver, Canada


Education

Emily Carr University of Art + Design, BFA & Honorary Doctor of Letters


Selected Exhibitions

2021   Recent Sculpture, Caldwell Snyder Gallery, San Francisco, CA

2020  Recent Work, Caldwell Snyder Gallery, St. Helena, CA

2013  Breaking, Winsor Gallery, Vancouver, BC

            Acid On Steel, Landscape, Duthie Gallery, Salt Spring

            Touch Wood, Vandusen, Duthie Gallery, Vancouver

2012  Living & Design, Osaka, Japan

            Living Turned Art, Seoul, Korea

2011  Autumn & Winter: Reflections, Orie Gallery, Tokyo

2010  Canadian Art, Vancouver Art Gallery, Canada Place, Vancouver, BC

2007  Solo Exhibition, Sopa Fine Art, Kelowna, BC


Outdoor Installations & Public Art

2012  (Untitled) #12, Tokyo City Center, Tokyo Japan

2011  (Untitled) #16, (Untitled) #11, Crunch #1, Baku Flame Towers, Baku, Azerbaijan

2010  Commission, Vancouver Olympic Village, Vancouver, Canada

            Reflections, Tokyo Design Week, Tokyo Japan

2008  (Untitled) #111, The Pemberton Sculpture Project, Pemberton, Canada

2007  (Untitled) #24, Vancouver General Hospital, Wellness Garden, Vancouver Canada

2010  Disk, Sheraton Wall Center, Vancouver Canada


Selected Publications

1843, October 2018, Charred Cedar Wood

Hole & Corner, September 2018, Profile Feature

Wallpaper*, July 2018, Cover: Chief Round Stool, X Sculpture

Interior Design, May 2018, Resin Furniture Feature

Elle Canada, May 2018, Resin Furniture Feature

Monocle, May 2018, Resin Furniture Feature

Dezeen, January 2018, Resin Furniture Feature

Ft How To Spend It, July 2017, Resin Furniture Feature

Evening Standard, May 2017, Resin Furniture Feature

Wallpaper*, April 2017, Chief Cube Stool

House & Garden, March 2017, Undulating #17

Wsj Off Duty, February 2017, Steel Art Screen

Sleeper, November 2016, Lunar Sphere

Vogue Living Australia, November 2016, House Feature

Vancouver Sun, June 2016, Profile Feature

Wallpaper*, March 2016, Profile Feature

The Telegraph Luxury, April 2017, Profile Feature

Architectural Digest, May 2012, Wire Sphere Lamp

Architectural Digest, Feb 2011, Profile And House Feature

Nuvo, May 2009, Profile Feature

Globe And Mail, 2009, Profile Feature

Vogue, America, March 1989, Sculpture Feature

Vogue, America, June 1988, Sculpture Feature

Press

PRESS

Selected Artworks

Black & Pink Weave

Black & Pink Weave

Resin

70 x 67 x 3 inches

210121

Black White Mini Totem

Black White Mini Totem

Resin

21 x 7 x 7 inches

210120

Black Stacking

Black Stacking

Resin

76 x 18 x 18 inches

210082

Blue Stacking

Blue Stacking

Resin

77 x 29 x 20 inches

210081

Blue & Pink Weave

Blue & Pink Weave

Resin

39 x 72 x 2 inches

210080

Pink Yellow Mini Totem

Pink Yellow Mini Totem

Resin

21 x 7 x 7 inches

210079

Orange & Yellow Mini Totem

Orange & Yellow Mini Totem

Resin

21 x 7 x 7 inches

210078

Brass Crunch

Brass Crunch

Brass

23 x 30 x 14 inches

210076

Balanced Unbalanced Black &

Balanced Unbalanced Black &

Resin

77 x 16 x 16 inches

210075

Balanced Unbalanced Colorful | SOLD

Balanced Unbalanced Colorful | SOLD

Resin

77 x 16 x 16 inches

210074

Multicolor Totem, Yellow Top

Multicolor Totem, Yellow Top

Resin

98 x 12 x 12 inches

200524

Orange, Pink & Yellow Totem

Orange, Pink & Yellow Totem

Resin

96 x 12 x 12 inches

200523

Black & Pink Totem

Black & Pink Totem

Resin

98 x 12 x 12 inches

200522

White & Black Totem

White & Black Totem

Resin

96 x 12 x 12 inches

200521

Gray Totem

Gray Totem

Resin

84 x 23 x 20 inches

200478

Black & White Totem

Black & White Totem

Resin

84 x 29 x 24 inches

200477

White Marble, Shimmer Charcoal

White Marble, Shimmer Charcoal

Resin

96 x 12 x 12 inches

200411

Red, White & Black Totem

Red, White & Black Totem

Resin

96 x 12 x 12 inches

200410

White Marble & Shimmer Blue

White Marble & Shimmer Blue

Resin

75 x 12 x 12 inches

200409

Brass Landscape 200319

Brass Landscape 200319

Brass

58 x 29 x 17 inches

200270

Brass Landscape 200429

Brass Landscape 200429

Brass

61 x 27 x 17 inches

200269

Brass Landscape 200127

Brass Landscape 200127

Brass

79 x 60 x 14 inches

200266

Black and Green Totem

Black and Green Totem

Resin

99 x 12 x 12 inches

200110

Born

1942 Vancouver, Canada


Education

Emily Carr University of Art + Design, BFA & Honorary Doctor of Letters


Selected Exhibitions

2021   Recent Sculpture, Caldwell Snyder Gallery, San Francisco, CA

2020  Recent Work, Caldwell Snyder Gallery, St. Helena, CA

2013  Breaking, Winsor Gallery, Vancouver, BC

            Acid On Steel, Landscape, Duthie Gallery, Salt Spring

            Touch Wood, Vandusen, Duthie Gallery, Vancouver

2012  Living & Design, Osaka, Japan

            Living Turned Art, Seoul, Korea

2011  Autumn & Winter: Reflections, Orie Gallery, Tokyo

2010  Canadian Art, Vancouver Art Gallery, Canada Place, Vancouver, BC

2007  Solo Exhibition, Sopa Fine Art, Kelowna, BC


Outdoor Installations & Public Art

2012  (Untitled) #12, Tokyo City Center, Tokyo Japan

2011  (Untitled) #16, (Untitled) #11, Crunch #1, Baku Flame Towers, Baku, Azerbaijan

2010  Commission, Vancouver Olympic Village, Vancouver, Canada

            Reflections, Tokyo Design Week, Tokyo Japan

2008  (Untitled) #111, The Pemberton Sculpture Project, Pemberton, Canada

2007  (Untitled) #24, Vancouver General Hospital, Wellness Garden, Vancouver Canada

2010  Disk, Sheraton Wall Center, Vancouver Canada


Selected Publications

1843, October 2018, Charred Cedar Wood

Hole & Corner, September 2018, Profile Feature

Wallpaper*, July 2018, Cover: Chief Round Stool, X Sculpture

Interior Design, May 2018, Resin Furniture Feature

Elle Canada, May 2018, Resin Furniture Feature

Monocle, May 2018, Resin Furniture Feature

Dezeen, January 2018, Resin Furniture Feature

Ft How To Spend It, July 2017, Resin Furniture Feature

Evening Standard, May 2017, Resin Furniture Feature

Wallpaper*, April 2017, Chief Cube Stool

House & Garden, March 2017, Undulating #17

Wsj Off Duty, February 2017, Steel Art Screen

Sleeper, November 2016, Lunar Sphere

Vogue Living Australia, November 2016, House Feature

Vancouver Sun, June 2016, Profile Feature

Wallpaper*, March 2016, Profile Feature

The Telegraph Luxury, April 2017, Profile Feature

Architectural Digest, May 2012, Wire Sphere Lamp

Architectural Digest, Feb 2011, Profile And House Feature

Nuvo, May 2009, Profile Feature

Globe And Mail, 2009, Profile Feature

Vogue, America, March 1989, Sculpture Feature

Vogue, America, June 1988, Sculpture Feature

Biography

Sculptor Martha Sturdy takes inspiration from nature in her native British Columbia, a region known for the stunning beauty of its mountains, forests, and coastline. For years she has been observing the land on her farm north of Vancouver, noticing everything from the texture of ice to the shapes of individual trees to the line of the hills, often exploring by horseback. A free-range, organic, yet meticulous sensibility infuses her sculptures: bold, clean, elemental forms executed in a revolving selection of brass, wood, steel, and resin. As in nature, simplicity and complexity are in constant tension and balance, with basic forms offset by intricate, earthy textures.

Each of Study’s sculptures radiates a unique character, a larger-than-life personality born of the artist’s sharp insights into life and nature and her willingness to let her materials speak for themselves. Ribbons of brass cascade and loop, knot and crumple, echoing life’s unexpected situations. Blackened towers made of cedar logs that she splits, chars, and finishes by hand showcase the grain and knots in the wood—the tree’s secret history. Spheres, triangles, and cubes made of brightly colored resin stack into tall, whimsical totems designed to ignite optimism in her viewers: “I am determined to influence people to look at color and how beautiful it is.”

Sturdy’s work calls to mind sculptors as varied as Barbara Hepworth, Louise Nevelson, Peter Shire, and Isamu Noguchi, the latter two of whom also combined practices of design and art. Still renowned for her wearables and furniture that she began producing after studying sculpture at Emily Carr University of Art + Design in the 1970s, Sturdy’s large-scale artworks represent a return to her roots. Her many accolades include an honorary doctorate from Emily Carr University of Art + Design, a Golden Jubilee Medal from the Governor General of Canada, a permanent installation in the Vancouver Olympic Village, a permanent installation in downtown Tokyo, and induction into the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts.

Press

A Traditional Waterfront Residence in Vancouver is a Streamlined Sanctuary by Peter Haldeman

Architectural Digest

May 19, 2017

Inside the remote home and studio of Canadian artist Martha Sturdy by Stephen Todd

Vogue Living

January 31, 2017

Raw nature: Martha Sturdy distills the Pacific Northwest into object form by Pei-Ru Keh

Wallpaper

March 15, 2016

Design doyenne Martha Sturdy’s two fresh passions by Dierdre Kelly

The Globe and Mail

August 24, 2014

Martha Sturdy's dramatic dining room by Dierdre Kelly

The Globe and Mail

April 23, 2011

In Conversation with Martha Sturdy by Ivan Meade

LifeMStyle

June 30, 2011

A Ten Minute Brain Picking With Local Art Icon Martha Sturdy by Andrew Morrison

Scout Magazine

October 6, 2010

Martha Sturdy

Sturdy says of her work, “by paring down to the most animal of basic shapes I ask if we can truly intellectualize the profound simplicity of our natural environment.” Sturdy’s sculptures capture a mingled sense of awe through their large scale, strength in their graphic shapes, and approachable comfort in their inviting texture, culminating in an understated elegance. 

SAN FRANCISCO

UNION SQUARE

 

341 Sutter Street
San Francisco, California 94108

Monday - Saturday, 11am - 5pm

Sunday by appointment 

415.392.2299

ST. HELENA

NAPA VALLEY

 

1328 Main Street
St. Helena, California 94574

Monday - Saturday, 10am - 5pm

Sunday 11am - 5pm

707.200.5050

MONTECITO

SANTA BARBARA

 

1266 Coast Village Road
Santa Barbara, California 93108

Monday, Thursday - Saturday, 10am - 5pm

Sunday, 11am - 5pm

Tuesday - Wednesday by Appointment

805.770.7170

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