Download PDF

A successful sculptor defines the idea of life to her sculptures, exhibition, and oneself

Julia Magsombol | September 30, 2022

When you visit exhibitions, it is normal to see small pieces of sculptures placed at the top of the table or inside of display cases. But for CORPUS, a group of small abstract sculptures were placed down on the floor, waiting for their time to shine, to be observed, and to make you feel alive.

“I find the experience of them much more direct when they’re on the concrete than when they’re sitting on a box,” said Catherine Burgess, an Edmonton-based artist, and a professional sculptor for over 40 years.

These objects are about their physicality, and Burgess stated this installation would be her first time putting her small built pieces on the floor and not inside of any display cases. A move that Burgess said is solely based on the audience’s perspective and experience.

A slideshow of CORPUS at Peter Robertson Gallery.

Burgess believes that to experience physicality, you need to be in the same space as what you’re experiencing. Corpus is a Latin word for body or physicality, and that’s what Burgess wants the audiences to feel in these pieces — the act of their bodies looking down and how these abstract pieces occupy the space.

When her sculptures are placed on the floor in front of someone, it feels like they are in a specific space where they experience and feel the physical presence of these objects — these sculptures are truly alive. “I become aware of my own physicality when I’m looking here,” Burgess commented.

When you walk around the Peter Robertson Gallery, it is not only Burgess’ pieces that will make you feel alive but the huge amount of people who attended and supported the exhibition.

Catherine Burgess’ CORPUS exhibition at Peter Robertson Gallery. PHOTO BY JULIA MAGSOMBOL/Edmonton

“[The sculptures] give me pleasure. They make me feel … I guess, serene,” Bob Van Schaik said, one of the exhibition attendees. Schaik added that the first piece that Burgess built in university resembles these newest pieces.

CORPUS II, steel, at Peter Robertson Gallery. PHOTO BY JULIA MAGSOMBOL/Edmonton


CORPUS V, steel, at Peter Robertson Gallery. PHOTO BY JULIA MAGSOMBOL/Edmonton




Valeska Thomson, who was invited to the exhibition, said she felt alive whenever she looked at the sculptures.

CORPUS VIII, steel, at Peter Robertson Gallery. PHOTO BY JULIA MAGSOMBOL/Edmonton


CORPUS XII, steel and cast bronze, at Peter Robertson Gallery. PHOTO BY JULIA MAGSOMBOL/Edmonton




Burgess’ working studio also seems alive. This is where she works all the time. Here, she built the sculptures of CORPUS and other influential pieces she made. Burgess started to work on these sculptures in March and they were done by July 2022.

Catherine Burgess’ studio. PHOTO BY JULIA MAGSOMBOL /Edmonton

In this studio, Burgess showed her first ever piece, built in 1971. This 51-year-old piece is a square wooden box that is covered in brass. She built this piece while she was still in university, where her father also pushed her to pursue art.

During her university years, Burgess saw the sculpture department. Burgess stated that she always wanted to make objects. Building sculptures is the most natural thing for her. It gives her satisfaction.

Catherine Burgess’ first ever sculpture, was made from wood and brass. PHOTO BY JULIA MAGSOMBOL /Edmonton

“The sculpture lab felt like home to me immediately. I think all artists feel most alive when they do work. It’s why we do it and feel compelled to keep doing it.” Burgess concluded.

CORPUS is welcome to visit at Peter Robertson Gallery, 12323 104 Ave. The show is open to the public until Oct. 8 at no cost.



%d bloggers like this: