The Lovers

We are pleased to unveil the 2018 Featured Art Piece, a sculpture titled “The Lovers”, an elegant, impressionistic bronze created by renowned artist Eric Tardif of Canada.

Tardif, who hails from Gatineau, Quebec, was previously a naturalist in Cap Tourmente National Wildlife Area preserve along the shores of the St. Lawrence River. However, his inspiration for this piece started nine years ago in Florida, when he and his family watched in fascination as two birds enacted their courtship ritual. “It was so intense – their focus, their wing movements; it is etched in my memory,” he recounts with a bit of awe.

“I decided to bring this memory to life for Waterfowl Festival and have created two long-tailed birds – The Lovers – in a single, strong piece that expresses the rich and solemn connection and communication between the pair,” said Tardif. “I hope that it expresses their grace, calm, peacefulness and formality during a moment in time.” The Lovers bronze stands 46 inches tall and is mounted on a single base of black marble 42 inches wide and 12 inches deep and is offered at $14,000.

The natural landscapes, heritage and bird life of Eastern Canada have been Tardif’s creative muse for over 15 years – first inspiring him to pursue his art and still today, helping to shape his perspective. Wild birds, in particular, with their natural elegance and graceful movements, continue to be the source for his inventive and unique brass, bronze, wood and stone sculptures

While some of Tardif’s work is in brass and bronze, his primary medium remains walnut, Canadian maple, ash, cherry and elm. He does not carve or sculpt in the traditional sense; instead he bends and shapes. “I have always been intrigued by the expressive possibilities of wood,” he explains. “I am constantly researching and refining my methods. Like birds, my work is in a state of perpetual artistic migration, from what I know toward even more expressive ways to form my vision.”

Using a process called ‘steam bending’ – in which strips of wood are steamed to a temperature of more than two hundred degrees (°F), making them pliable enough to bend into curving, intricate forms – Tardif creates abstract sculptures that capture the nuances and intimacies of our feathered friends as they fly, preen, hunt and interact with each other. He notes that even the choice of type of wood “adds touches that are sometimes voluptuous, sometimes solemn” to the feeling of a piece. He will be offering smaller, wood versions of “The Lovers” at the Festival as well.