Purchased by the Thunder Bay Art Gallery in 2007, artist Roly Martin’s playful sculpture Big Back Yard (2006) features a large black resin doe atop a wooden house. Inspired by a trip to his hometown in Southern Ontario where “farmland and the remaining plots of forests were being turned over to organized communities”, Martin observed how “the new residents along with various forms wildlife were all busy rearranging while trying to settle into an entirely new landscape.” Indeed, while the juxtaposition of house and deer in Big Back Yard evokes humour and delight, it also brings to our attention the unintended results of rapid land development and how often we are made to share urbanized environments.
Based in Thunder Bay since 1993, Roly Martin is an assistant professor in the Visual Arts Department at Lakehead University. His work in our Permanent Collection represents the Gallery’s continuing commitment to collecting and exhibiting contemporary artists from Thunder Bay and Northwestern Ontario.
Originally published in The Walleye – FEB 2017
By Nadia Kurd, Curator, Thunder Bay Art Gallery
Artist: Roland (Roly) Martin
Title: Big Back Yard
Medium: Mixed Media
Dimensions: 250 x 122 x 80 cm
Collection of the Thunder Bay Art Gallery, Purchased 2007