Ottawa

Ottawa artist Juan Geuer dies at 92

Juan Geuer, an Ottawa artist who became known for his creative take on installations that combine art and science, has died at the age of 92.

Juan Geuer, an Ottawa artist who became known for his creative take on installations that combine art and science, has died at the age of 92.

The Almonte-based artist died in Ottawa Saturday with family at his side, a notice on his website said.

Geuer's installations brought him a reputation as a pioneer in Ottawa's art community.

He was a lifelong artist, born in the Netherlands in 1917 to parents who were stained glass artists.

In the 1940s, Geuer and his parents and siblings lived in Bolivia, where they lived off the land and created stained glass and stains from local minerals.

Eventually, Geuer ended up a draftsman at the Dominion Observatory in Ottawa where he found his artistic inspiration in astronomy and mathematical concepts.

Ed Folger, who is finishing a video that documents one of Geuer's pieces, said Geuer was intent on showing people the underlying rhythms of the earth and making the imperceptible visible.

Geuer saw art in lasers and swinging pendulums and used them, along with mirrors, in many of his creations.

"If you just look at a drop of water, you can't see the movement of the molecules, but if you put a laser through it, these fabulous patterns are projected out," said Folger.

One of Geuer's seminal pieces — a seismometer that records motion — is permanently installed at the Ottawa Art Gallery.

"Wonderment! He kept using that word over and over again. Wonderment. It's what people should feel," said Folger.

Unfortunately, much of Geuer's work is too complicated to be shown often, said Folger.

Geuer's website describes one creation, Hellot Glasses, made in 1996, as small mirrors that allow viewers to "live vicariously in one another's gaze."

In an interview he gave at the age of 91, Geuer gave a hint of how it might feel to look through his own gaze.

"Every day, I get up with this wonderful feeling, and I think I can do something new today, something nobody else has done. I will find something," he said.