You are here: Home Art Beat Natural art in the coulee
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

L.A. Beat

Natural art in the coulee

E-mail Print
All things are temporal, including art, so catch Earth, Art,  Walk before it’s gone like the elements it is created from.Artist Troy Nickle examines “A Woman in the Woods.” Photo By Richard Amery
Lethbridge artist Troy Nickle has been making art out of natural objects for many years.
He has several of his pieces in a new outdoor exhibit along the Helen Schuler Nature Centre trails. But nature has already claimed one of them — a mud sculpture of a man’s face coming out of a barkless tree called ‘Populus’ was already decimated by weekend rains.
“I learned bark helps hold it together, it helps it stay attached,” said Nickle, indicating a similar female form attached to a tree with bark, called “ Woman in the Woods,” which is already starting to show signs of wear.
“As I started moulding this lump of Oldman River mud, it evolved organically into a female form,” he said adding he usually uses objects in and around the natural area to create his art rather than bringing in foreign materials, though he did have to haul a pail full of the mud into the site for this particular creation.
“It’s celebrating art in nature. A lot of people will go on a walk and come across the art,” Nickle said adding the new presentation is a unique take on the 100th anniversary of the bridge as it celebrates the elements upon which it was built.
 Darcy Logan from the Bowman Arts Centre came up with the project idea and Nickle ran with it.
“I wanted to focus on the landscape and the environment under the bridge,” he continued adding there are seven pieces including mud clay mouldings and stacks of sticks shaped like eggs and cairns. Because of the ephemeral nature of the works, each piece is documented in photographs.
“ Because of the nature of the materials, they only last a couple of  weeks,” said Nickle, who will be teaching a sculpture class at the Bowman Arts Centre until the end of November and is taking a few classes at the University of Lethbridge as well. Taking a class about environmental context at the university inspired Nickle to explore environmental themed art.
“Most of my art is in the coulees. My studies have been the environment. It’s very inspirational. I enjoy that connection with the environment,” he said adding his art has appeared in several local parks including Pavan, Cottonwood and the Indian Battle Park.
“It’s important  that the work is not intrusive to the environment and not adding anything new to the environment,” emphasized Nickle who was born in Lundbreck, Alberta and went to school at the  Alberta College of Art in Calgary, before moving out to Castle Mountain to snowboard and eventually moving to Lethbridge and meeting members of Lethbridge art collective, the Potemkin Collective.
“ I’m also interested in  the process of impermanence of the elements acting on the works as well as the overall process and the change on the work as it occurs over time,” he continued.
“Feedback has been really good. There have been lots of good comments about it,” he said adding he is thankful for the support from the community toward his work.
More information about the display is available on Nickle’s blog at
— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat editor
The ONLY Gig Guide that matters


Music Beat

Lights. Camera. Action.
Inside L.A. Inside

CD Reviews


Music Beat News

Art Beat News

Drama Beat News

Museum Beat News