Artworks and Artists
Henry Saxe
Born in Montreal, Quebec, 24 September 1937

Henry Saxe

"Drawing perceived on one plane does not look at perspective, whereas if the eye adjusts at different heights, different angles, different lighting conditions, it's totally different. I just hope that where lines converge and cross over each other, different things will happen from different positions of course. 1977

Since he first began making sculpture, Henry Saxe has always been conscious of the experience of the visitor. He constructs multiple views so that the visitor can participate in the process of assimilating his perceptually complex objects. Saxe's work is about what transpires in our own experience of it.

Saxe studied at Sir George Williams University in Montreal from 1955 to 1956 and then attended the École des beaux- arts in Montreal. He started out as a painter and abandoned the medium in the mid-sixties to concentrate on sculpture. In 1973, Saxe moved to Tamworth, Ontario where he built, on a large tract of land, a studio that provided all the necessary space and equipment for making sculpture.

At this time, Saxe began to make unconventional works, open form sculptures where each piece and each shape, as well as each plane and each line, had a well-defined place, and each element contributed to the creation of the ensemble patiently orchestrated by the artist.

In the mid-seventies Saxe focused on the "Instrument Series". Each sculpture in the series represented an instrument that represents perception. Every work in the series is different but each one deals with the principles of balance, support, weight, tension, horizontality and verticality, in a complex weave of spatial relationships. The idea for the instrument series developed over time, as Saxe noticed that the principles he used to construct each piece continued to remain active in the work when he finished it. The works also include an inventory of the methods of assembly: welding, nailing and bolting, as well as an exploration of the relationships between the various thicknesses of the materials used as surfaces, planes and volumes, and straight and curved lines. In 1980 when asked if he knew when the sculpture was finished, Saxe responded: "when the relationship between the sides, the heights, the angles, and the weight combine with the elements that are redistributed, rebalanced and modified".

In 1988, Saxe was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. In 1994, he was awarded the Government of Quebec's Prix Paul-Emile Borduas.