From building aircrafts to creating art from solid steel

In her FAB Gallery exhibit Formed, Selene Huff’s metal sculptures are inspired by body movement and physical interactions.

Erik Einsiedel - 18 September 2020

A journeyman welder turned artist, MFA candidate Selene Huff introduces her new art exhibit in the Fine Arts Building (FAB) Gallery called Formed, on now until September 25, 2020. Filled with intricate, metal sculptures, they are an abstract reflection of how the body moves through space and interacts with physical entities.

“I find steel particularly fascinating because it is very stubborn to work with, and it’s a joyful challenge to physically manipulate it,” Huff explains.

Even before entering the Art & Design program, Huff was already intimately familiar with steel, having worked as a journeyman welder building aircraft mufflers and exhaust systems.

Her dream of pursuing an art degree eventually led her to the U of A where she completed her BFA in Art & Design. There she fell in love with the world of abstract art, where her talents in metal sculpture were noticed by faculty instructor and renowned metal sculptor Peter Hide. Hide encouraged Huff to pursue a master’s degree.

Formed is the culmination of her training, with Huff combining years of experience working with one of the toughest materials on Earth with an artistic expression of her own body movement.

“I teach yoga and practice some contortion work, so I drew from my personal experience for inspiration,” Huff said. “Those contorted, compressed shapes and body movements are meditative concepts I wanted to fit into an abstract work.”

Many of the pieces in Huff’s exhibit are not just found objects welded together, but steel elements that have been heavily manipulated and reshaped. For this, Huff has begun learning the art of blacksmithing. With an old anvil, hammers and a propane forge, she was able to bend, squash and twist those components into the compelling artwork now on display in Formed.

As for the future, despite the new challenges the pandemic has introduced, Huff remains positive.

“COVID has certainly made things harder, but I really think it’s also an opportunity for growth and self-reliance,” she says. “We’re going to have a whole generation of artists who pulled through this.”

Formed is on display in FAB Gallery from September 1 - 25, 2020, and can be seen by appointment only. For more information, visit the FAB Gallery website.