Spirit Wrestler Gallery (Vancouver, Canada)

“the soap box”


Another piece I wanted to have some fun with. I had been looking at this piece of serpentine for quite some time and I was never quite sure where to go with it. But one evening Jo-Ann and I were out in the shop and we were looking it over and she suggested an owl with his head looking up in a proud manner. So from there I just let that idea stay in my head and at the same time I wanted to keep the form simple without any additives to the stone like feet or wings.

One of the first things I thought of with having his head positioned that way was a piece by Auguste Rodin. Monument to Balzac 1897-98 (there is a bronze in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York). This is a piece I studied as an art student. The form is treated very simply, just a few folds and a head. The original piece did not receive a great review from the Writer Association that had commissioned Rodin to create a piece in memory of Balzac. However, I was looking more at the simple form and how Rodin has captured the feeling that he wanted to convey about the writer.

To move onto the soap box idea. One evening while out in the shop, I was looking the piece over and remembered something that I hadn’t thought of in a number of years — the soap box. I have seen this image used many times in comics and (especially) the political cartoons in newspapers. When the soap box is added to an image it is meant to imply that the person is rambling on and on about the same old thing whether or not it really meant much.

soap-box: n. 1. container in which soap is packed, as a box or crate. 2. empty box or other improvised platform for making an informal, impromptu, or unofficial speech, esp. on a public street.

This piece is about the #2 meaning of soap-box.

Michael Massie

Michael Massie

Michael Massie


Inuit, Métis

Happy Valley - Goose Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

(1962- )

Massie’s work is a reflection of his mixed Inuit, Métis and Scottish heritage. In it, he investigates both traditional and contemporary themes. He has achieved renown for his innovative teapots that combine themes and symbols from his native Inuit culture with European traditions. Massie has been twice short-listed for the coveted Prix Saidye Bronfman and has an extensive international reputation. His work has been shown in North America and Europe, including the National Gallery of Canada. He was elected a member of Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 2011.