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Listen to Hear, Look to See

  • Fri Sep 09 - Sun Aug 26

Outdoor Sculptures throughout the grounds.

The Alton Mill Arts Centre is pleased to partner with Headwaters Arts to present an ongoing exhibition in our extensive sculpture garden. The show features the works of three artists working in metal: Canadians Marlene Hilton Moore and Floyd Elzinga, and Israeli Yael Erlichman plus a few works by others.

Artist Statements

Marlene Hilton Moore

I think of my artwork through myself as a physical terrain of mind and body, gathering what has been toward what is to come. It is an act of reflection.

Listen to Hear engages the idea of listening. Do we listen, do we hear? Listening is an active process, which depends more on listening than on speaking. Silence too is a part of listening. Ultimately we hear sound, but listening constructs meaning.

In Head in the Ocean, Head To Ear, Silent and Listen, the head fragment as vehicle reflects aspects of listening: the head listens to the magical sound of the waterfall - the ear is dislocated from the head and placed in front of the lips so there is no impediment to hearing – the lips are silent to allow time for listening, the single ear is imbedded in the sound of nature.

The hands grip the rail of Inside My Skin, Time Like Droplets, Woven So Tightly, and Silent Web of Thought. They hold tight the phrases, which speak silently of interior reflection - “I yearn to melt into the universe…slide inside my skin … threaded into the fibre of being. “ These sculptures allow time to absorb the thoughts and the listening is silent.

Singing Bowl Venus and Singing Bowl Mars offer the connection to the meditative aspects of traditional singing bowls, their large scale amplifying this connection without shouting. The perfect hemisphere of the bowl, the inclusive reality of the circle, and the richness of the metals with their reflective glow, ground this exhibition in the meditative moment – listen – center oneself – heal.

Marlene Hilton Moore September, 2011

Floyd Elzinga

I am primarily inspired by the natural world. More specifically I am drawn to explore the natural patterns of growth and destruction.

Currently, I am exploring the tradition of landscape painting through nontraditional materials and techniques; my recent works focus on broken landscapes and portraits of trees. I create portraits of trees that highlight strength in spite of torturous prevailing conditions. What began as a simple and campy reference to works by the Group of Seven spawned a series of pieces emphasizing anthropomorphized trees. They illustrate and capture the essence of forces both gentle and destructive, and through them, embody ideas like tenacity and resilience.    I was drawn to steel (and subsequently stainless steel) for these ‘paintings’ due to its malleable, plastic and forgiving nature, but now I love to use these metals because of the way light plays off the etched and scratched surface. Capturing the fleeting nature of wind through this kind of surface treatment creates a sublime backdrop for a distorted tree that embodies the relentlessness of the wind.

Beyond bent and twisted trees, I also celebrate trees (or parts of trees) that expose deadwood and have been broken or pruned. But these pieces always have a branch of new growth or bud implying that there is still hope.

Pine cones have been used as symbols of immortality and fertility but I choose to highlight the aggressive nature of seeds by general equating them to bombs and implying that they have motivations. Creating large pinecones out of steel has to do with the ordinariness of the material and its typical usage. I want to associate them with equipment, machinery and artillery as opposed to the natural organic shapes they resemble. I love the pine cone for its complicated and natural yet systematically geometric form, but I also like to focus on the idea that as a seed it represents an unrealized potential. By exploring the dichotomy between the innocuous and aggressive nature of seeds, I compare the potential contained in both a seed and a bomb and then allude to the fact that both employ ways of self-preservation in attempts to invade and colonize. Juxtaposing the seed’s central goal of colonization with the fact that the pinecone easily emulates the shape of a hand grenade pollutes the natural purity of a pinecone with an undeniable political layer. Although these large metal pinecones may represent destruction and manipulation they also convey the idea of both potential and immortality.

As a powerful yet flexible medium, steel lends itself quite naturally to supporting these themes as well as creating organic shapes and colours. My work continues to be strongly influenced by the natural and cultivated environment surrounding my studio on the Niagara Escarpment, and so there exists in each creation a direct reference to my distinctly Canadian perspective.


Yael Erlichman

The Alton Mill is honoured to be the Canadian home of the work of internationally renowned Israeli sculptor Yael Erlichman.

Erlichman’s sculptures find great aesthetic value in the most common human form. Her background instilled in Erlichman fundamental values of human dignity which are reflected in her work. She succeeds in combining a profound awareness of the classical tradition of expressive, figurative sculpture with a subtle, playful approach. Making use of extraordinary technical skill and with an eye for vivid details, she imbues her inanimate bronze figures with profound emotion, humour and energy, which serve as a tribute to human nature and human optimism.

Erlichman’s creative process includes producing bronze castings in a foundry in the Jerusalem hills and then polishing and burnishing each individual sculpture with its unique personality. According to art critic and curator Orit Lotringer, “each work of art takes on an expression and status, which differs slightly from others…Yael tends to endow her sculptures with human attributes…the secret of the charm of her sculptures lies, to a great extent, in her control over the expressiveness of her artwork – her ability to give her ‘heroes’ facial expressions which arouse interest and spark the imagination.”

The Alton Mill Arts Centre, which has imbued a previously derelict industrial complex with a sense of renewal, energy and purpose, is a fitting backdrop for Erlichman’s optimistic sculptures that truly are a celebration of life!

About the Artists

Marlene Hilton Moore

Marlene Hilton Moore has an extensive career in both Gallery and Public Art. She has been awarded many Public Art Commissions in Ontario, Quebec, the East Coast and Mississippi. Significant Public Art Commissions are: Two Freedoms, McMurtry Gardens of Justice, Toronto, 2012; Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Wilfrid Laurier University, 2011, d’Iberville, Mississippi, 2009, Flow Blue, Toronto, 2008, The Valiants Memorial, Ottawa, 2006 and After Babel, Montreal, 1993.

The site-specific installation, Listen to Hear, is installed at the Alton Mill Arts Centre Sculpture Garden from September 1, 2011 to August 26, 2012.

Marlene Hilton Moore has had numerous solo and group exhibitions in public galleries. The audiovisual installation, Made to Measure 2 and photography exhibition, Pixie’s World are scheduled for Fall, 2011 into Spring, 2012. An extended tour of her Audiovisual Installation and Performance Artwork toured Public Art Galleries from 2003 – 2007. A major survey exhibition of her sculptural work, with accompanying catalogue, traveled throughout Ontario in 2002/03.

She has received awards from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council. Her work is in numerous public and private collections.

Hilton Moore currently resides in Hillsdale, Ontario and has recently retired from teaching at Georgian College, School of Design and Visual Arts in Barrie, Ontario.


Floyd Elzinga

Rotten stumps, broken branches, invasive species, ravaged trees as well as polar opposites and dysfunctional objects; these are the things that excite Floyd Elzinga. He has made a career out of highlighting and glorifying these through three dimensional sculpture, relief work and environmental installations for over 15 years. Current themes in his work focus on broken landscapes, portraits of trees and the aggressive nature of seeds.

Floyd received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design in Halifax, NS. He was initially drawn to steel, due to its malleable, plastic and forgiving nature, and he continues to utilize its range of colours as well as the way light plays off the surface. He has been exploring traditional metal working techniques to create textures and depth the same way a painter would use a paintbrush. Practices of polishing, burnishing, rusting and heat treatment are used to transform cold, hard steel into a realistic representation of nature.

Currently Elzinga frequently uses stainless steel and weathering steel due to their climate resistant properties.

Recent exhibitions include his Pine Cone Colony installation at Toronto’s 2010 Nuit Blanche. At the center of the display crowds gathered around a giant pine cone emanating light and heat from an uncontrolled fire burning in its core.

Private and public commissions by Floyd Elzinga include three sculptural reliefs in the lobby of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Toronto, as well as sculptural installations in Rockcliffe Park Village Green, Ottawa, and Cedar Ridge Cultural Centre, Toronto.

He currently lives next to his studio in Beamsville, Ontario nestled along the Niagara Escarpment.


Yael Erlichman

Yael ErlichmanYael Erlichman is a "Sabra", born in 1954 in Kibbutz Givat Brenner, Israel. Working at a foundry in the Jerusalem hills, she is involved in every single stage of the bronze production. Her art has been purchased for corporate and private collections worldwide and she is represented by several galleries in the USA, Canada andEurope, as well as being well-established in her homeland of Israel.

In 2009 Erlichman was invited to participate in the Florence Biennale for Contemporary Art. The show featured over 2500 works of art by 800 artists from 76 countries. Erlichman was honoured to be singled out as the winner of that year's prestigous Lorenzo il Magnifico President's Award.


• Avni Institute - Tel Aviv, Israel
• Ramat Hasharon Academy of Arts - Art History and Sketching
• Esther Prerez Arad Studio - Painting and Sketching
• Miriam Houri Gutholc Studio - Sculpturing
• Kabri Etching Studio - Western Galilee, Israel
• Vadim Koptievsky Studio - Oil Painting