Guardian Angel, 1993
• travertine & granite
• 62” H x 20” W x 20” D (157cm H x 51cm W x 51cm D)
• private collection, Chilliwack, BC, Canada
Michael Binkley carved this original fine art stone sculpture for his 1993 “Faces & Figures” exhibition on Granville Island, Vancouver, BC, Canada. On opening night, he found a patron who wanted to add it to his personal collection.
Binkley carved the sculpture from a piece of red travertine, which is a type of limestone. Travertine is a sedimentary stone that is found in many colours, depending on where it is quarried and what minerals were present during its formation. Travertine usually has a coloured striated grain with millions of varying sized holes. This particular red variety was quarried near Pisa in Italy.
Binkley wanted to create a sculpture with a meditative quality. The sculptor carved an androgynous figure that appeared to be wearing a heavy cowled cloak. The figure’s legs were stylized and not visible under the garment. Binkley carved furled wings that hugged the figure’s legs and only the wingtips were visible below the cloak against the legs. Using white Italian marble, he carved the figure’s face and inserted it inside the hood. The whole sculpture was mounted on a piece of heavy thick black granite from Quebec, Canada. The angel’s arms were clearly crossed below the cloak and the face was looking downward with eyes closed with a sense of serenity.
Binkley used a bush-hammer texture on the cloak, giving these surfaces a slightly rough texture. These were in contrast to the wing feathers and the face which were polished to a silky smooth, matte finish. The matte surfaces gave the stones the ability to successfully hold shadow, yet allowed the wonderful colours of the stones to be featured. The only surface with a high polish was the top of the granite base and this allowed the angel’s image to be reflected there.
The combination of the mass of the cloak and the rough textured surfaces gave a sense of quiet power and so Binkley named it “Guardian Angel.”