Walter May

The Hatstack, 2017

Patina on bronze, concrete

19-feet-by-28-inches diameter

Located at and commissioned by: Le Germain Hotel, Calgary

Walter May was born in Edmonton, Alberta in 1950; he obtained his B.F.A at the University of Alberta (1971), and his M.F.A. from the University of Regina (1977). He is a Lecturer Emeritus, Alberta University of the Arts (formerly known as the Alberta College of Art and Design), and lives and works in Calgary, Alberta.

Walter May’s slender columnar sculpture stands out from its prime downtown surroundings with gold-bronze warmth. Reflected in the windows and polished stone of Le Germain Hotel, it fits perfectly under the lofty cantilever that shields the corner sidewalk across from the Calgary Tower.

The structure is cunning and worth a close look: 33 bronze hats are paired and stacked, brim-to-brim and crown-to-crown. They appear identical, but each has slight surface variations from the sandcasting, chasing and patina processes. They rise from a stout cast-concrete base, also a carefully considered component. The vertical repetition of symmetrical elements sets a visual rhythm, like the vertebrae of a spine. The overall effect is of balance and harmony, with the suggestion of building, growth and cooperation.

Walter May’s work figures in numerous collections, including:  Glenbow Museum, The Nickle Galleries, the Art Gallery of Alberta and the Toronto Dominion Bank Art Collection, to name a few.