Winnipeg sculptor donates work to McMichael

Winnipeg artist Ivan Eyre will donate nine sculptures to the McMichael Canadian Art Collection's sculpture garden.

Winnipeg artist Ivan Eyre will donate nine sculptures to the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinberg, Ont., to stand in the gallery’s planned sculpture garden.

Eyre plans to create the large bronze sculptures for the grounds of the McMichael by spring 2011.

Both a painter and a sculptor, he has an entire floor dedicated to his work at the Pavilion Museum in Assiniboine Park in Winnipeg.

Born in Tullymet, Sask., in 1935, Eyre studied in Winnipeg and in North Dakota and taught at the University of Manitoba until his retirement in 1993. Eyre has had numerous solo shows since 1962 and his work is collected throughout Canada.

The McMichael sculptures will be double-life-sized versions of his works including Dream South, Bird Wrap, Lady Love and Plains Call. Two have been cast already and are in Winnipeg waiting for the bases to be constructed. The rest will be completed over the next year.

The McMichael gallery recently learned it would receive $4.2 million for redevelopment of its grounds through federal and provincial infrastructure funding. It announced Eyre's donation at a press conference Wednesday in Kleinberg.

The gallery is surrounded by 100 wooded acres and has a small cemetery where six members of the Group of Seven are buried.

Over the past four years, the McMichael Canadian Art Foundation has been raising funds for the redevelopment.

The grounds have been redesigned by Zelinka Priamo in an effort to make better use of outdoor space.

The gallery plans guided walks of the sculpture garden, to open in 2011.