The late 60s and early 70s were an exciting time to be an artist in Canada. The air was rich with ideas and possibilities as a new generation of creators began to explore entirely new ways of thinking and making.
Ron Baird and Sharon Fischtein were in the thick of that creative ferment, each shaping the art world in distinct ways. Fifty years later, the two influential friends are celebrating that era by releasing three of Ron’s sculptures for sale.
Ron was already an influential force in 1972, when he created the three steel sculptures. He had exhibited a number of pieces at Expo 67 and was rapidly achieving an international reputation as a sculptor. “By the time I made these, I had developed my craft as a metal worker, as well as my vision,” he says.
“Ron developed a whole new way of seeing sculpture, doing things that no other artist in Canada was doing,” says Sharon.
His work is often described as architectural sculpture, forms that are designed to interact with buildings and the landscape rather than merely decorating them. “One of the things I loved about Ron’s work from the moment I saw it was the scale and the variability of it,” Sharon says. “If you put his work in a garden, it becomes part of that garden. And they change all the time, looking different in the sun, the rain, the snow.”
Ron’s sculptures can be seen in public places from Barrie (he created the Spirit Catcher that dominates the city’s waterfront) to Sri Lanka (he recently installed a large kinetic sculpture on the roof of a building which houses the Norwegian Embassy) to Northern Ireland, where he is currently building a kinetic sculpture that will stand on the north coast near the Giant’s Causeway.
Sharon has shown and sold a number of Ron’s pieces over the years, beginning with her very first art gallery. The owner of Fischtein Fine Art, Sharon has helped influence Canadian artistic tastes since the early 1970s, and still represents an impressive array of influential artists.
“It’s a matter of having a good eye, recognizing talent when you see it, and building up a clientele who trust you,”