Thursday, December 02, 2010

Canadian logger was trying to haul away 'wood pile' when informed it was art

A New Brunswick logger is unrepentant after beginning to dismantle a woodpile that turned out to be a sculpture titled "Deadwood Sleep." Ron Fahey of Sackville said he was granted permission in August from University to take the logs stacked in an area behind the president's residence alongside a water fowl park in the town. "I got the OK to just take the wood and, to me, it was just a pile of wood. If that's art then I'm in the wrong racket," he said. "I guess I'm not cultured."

He said he was going to use it for firewood and had started to haul some of the wood away on Saturday when the town manager came rushing over to ask if he had permission to touch it. Fahey, 59, realized the mistake and stopped working on the pile, though he'd already pulled several logs off. Andrea Ward, grounds manager at Mount Allison University, said there was confusion over which pile of wood Fahey was to dismantle behind the historic Cranewood residence on the campus. "Basically we said, 'We don't think the wood you're looking at is on your property, but we do have some wood on our property if you're interested,' " she said.

The three-year-old artwork is by local sculptor Paul Griffin and is displayed on a town website that advertises the community as the cultural capital of Canada. Griffin says the town commissioned the work for $5,000 and it has two large maples entwined on top of a two-metre-high stack of deadwood gathered from the forest. "It's right in the middle of a water fowl park. That's one logger that's pretty hungry for a piece of wood," said the sculptor.

Nearby, there's a stump covered in galvanized roofing nails, another portion of Griffin's sculpture. He said he plans to put the sculpture back together. "I think I'll have to have a sign put up, but part of the art is to work in harmony with nature surrounding it." Griffin, who also works as a technician at the university's fine arts department, said he was relieved the incident wasn't a case of vandalism but rather the result of "an honest mistake."

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