Webster’s Column

Patterson Webster
Webster’s Column   2011
Glass, stainless steel, newspapers, granite

In this work, the artist honours the journalistic career of her husband, Norman Webster, by playing on different meanings of “column”: a sculptural form, often used commemoratively; a vertical division of a page or text; and a recurring opinion piece in a periodical.

This lighthearted approach is also evident in the artist’s modern twist on both the materials and solemnity traditional to columns. Granite gives way to stainless steel and glass. A listing of accomplishments on the base (sites from which the journalist reported over his fifty-year career) is undercut by quotations on the plinth that poke fun at journalism and at journalists, those “nattering nabobs of negativism.”

Inside the glass box that forms the column itself, fifty piles of newspapers alternate directions, giving pattern and colour to an otherwise austere format. Here we see memorialized the work itself instead of merely the person, a fitting tribute to a man who never sought the spotlight.