Starting with the iconic octogenarian, the irreverent Armand J.R. Vaillancourt, whose front lawn looks like a fusion of sculpture garden and a junkyard, to multidisciplinary artist Michel de Broin, whose works are presently on display in a major retrospective at the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art.

At the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
To September 2, 2013 externe)

Michel de Broin
Image The Great Encounter (2008)

Image Blowback (2013)

Image Molecule (2009)

But during a recent visit to England, I discovered another artist who creates from found objects, but one who has taken it a step further. Or perhaps, deeper, would be a better word.
Harriet Mead is a metal sculptor, but the metal she uses comes from everyday discarded and rusted tools and garden implements, and her subject matter is underwater life. Yes, she dives to sketch the sea creatures, later soldering metal pieces into unique works of art. Crabs and cuttlefish made of padlocks or fragments of saws are eerily realistic, and so very incongruous when it comes to the material they are made from.
Mead's talent is quite spectacular, and the creatures she shapes are impossible to ignore. Very much in vein with Vaillancourt, who was described as refusing to accept the ugliness and banality in the things in the world, she produces beautiful art from the least appealing of objects.
Drawing underwater proved to be quite a challenge in itself. Mead used a graphite stick on super thick watercolour paper, clipped to a chopping board, trying to make sense of the crude sketches once she surfaced. In the process, she learned to appreciate the magic of the sea world, with its many amazing creatures, imbuing her sculptures with a particular emotional component.

Harriet Mead
Image Padlock Crab

Image Trowel Tortoise

Image Sawblade Goby