Versus, 2016. Craig Le Blanc (operating as the White Studio, with the assistance of Adam Rees). Painted stainless steel, 11 feet x 14.75 feet x 3.25 feet. Located at the entrance to New Brighton Athletic Park, 5801 130 Ave. S.E. This was commissioned through The City of Calgary Public Art Program.
Visible from afar, the orange supersize VS. marks the entrance to southeast Calgary’s brand-new outdoor athletic facility, which includes an extensive stretch of playing fields, playgrounds and a popular skate-park bowl. This 3,700-pound stainless-steel sculpture was constructed and painted with precision. Out in the sun and wind, its job as a visual landmark is compounded by the requirement that it relate to the use of the site. Artist Craig Le Blanc considered community, activity and competition and packed his solution into one (abbreviated) word.
Nearly 140 languages are spoken in Calgary. The abbreviation for versus, vs., isn’t officially borrowed from English in all these languages, but its meaning is widely recognized, especially among sports fans. Within the context of organized sport, it signals competition and fair play. The giant letters fit our Instagram culture: the graphics offer the perfect set-up for pregame photo opportunities.
Versus is Le Blanc’s third large-scale public sculpture in Alberta (the other two are Henri, at the Terwillegar Community Recreation Centre in Edmonton and Sadie, at the Strathcona County Emergency Services Station #6 in Sherwood Park).
With extensive experience in the fields of industrial design and architecture and an MFA from the University of Calgary, Le Blanc worked at the faculty of environmental design at the U of C before moving to Edmonton in 2015. He now teaches graphic design and digital sculpting at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology. Known for his use of text and wordplay, Le Blanc is well respected for his skill with industrial materials and processes.