Permanent Collection

Muskoka Mammaries, Hilary Clark Cole, sculpture

Muskoka Mammaries

Hilary Clark Cole
Welded steel sheet & rod, glass

Hilary Clark Cole remarks that she was born an artist. “From the moment I developed the manual dexterity to put things together, I have been a sculptor. For me, my art is my breath.” 

The Brazing Hussy series is a group of artistic statements by an artist, a woman and a welder. These are one of kind life-size female forms, which could loosely be described as a bustier, bodice or sculpted torso. 

The general perception of steel is that it is a cold, masculine, industrial material. “To me it is none of those things,” says Hilary who graduated from the Ontario College of Art and Design in 1969. “I love to explore its warm, malleable, filigreed possibilities and these particular sculptures give me that opportunity.”

This series began quite simply as a literal interpretation of a lacy, feminine garment, created out of steel, ironic and quite disarmingly charming. “But then, I took a philosophical leap. I began to create this female form out of masses of welded steel fern fronds, bunches of steel-and-brass buttercups, delicate wire feathers,” explains Hilary whose metal sculptures are part of many private, corporate and public collections and have been profiled on television programs. “They became living growing works of art. The upper torso is such an expressive part of the body, a center of emotion. The Hussies dance, some lush with fruit and new emerging life, some sensual and provocative and others moody and thought provoking.”The Brazing Hussy series continued to evolve into statements about being alive. There is joy and sadness in each of these sculptures as you hold them by the waist and listen to them speak. They will tell you of perceived beauty, of painful shyness, of rich memories, of wicked gossip, of temptation. “I encourage you to take them in your arms and feel their life,” says Hilary who was awarded with a lifetime membership in Muskoka Arts & Crafts in 2008.