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Article from Preview Gallery Guide (Winter 2004) courtesy of the publisher

Nicola Prinsen

The sculpture of Saltspring Island artist Nicola Prinsen is inspired by the otters, crows, goats, horses and other creatures of her rural setting. Many of her pieces are straightforward, life-scale representations of wildlife and domestic animals. Her fusion characters border reality and fantasy.

Prinsen is capable of exquisitely rendered realism. She has a good eye and sound technical skills honed by studies at the University of Alberta, the Zeljko Kujundzic Northern School of the Arts and the Vancouver Academy of Art. Her work has been described as "veiled in humour" because, in many of her bronzes and fired clay sculpture, she exaggerates the personalities and temperaments of the animals by distorting their physical appearances. If the term "anthropomorphic mannerism" could be coined, it would certainly apply to a bloated sway-back horse, a "radiant" cow whose udders graze the ground, or an enormously fat cat. Her sense of humour is evident in a work like "Jane (Gal from Saltspring)", a three-quarter life size, fibreglass-reinforced, gypsum cow.

Like the Canadian sculptor Joe Fafard, Prinsen seeks to amuse and entice the viewer. Pushing the boundaries of art and reality is her motivation, rather than social causes. The current series consists of ten bronze sculptures in editions of five, as well as some unique works in clay. The artist unveils new work on Nov. 20 and 21.