Sculptor Nathalie Decoster

French connection.

NUVO Magazine: Nathalie Decoster.

Concrete by Nathalie Decoster.

The town of Argenteuil, just outside of Paris, was something of an artistic Holy Land during the Impressionist era. In the 1870s, Claude Monet would invite Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Édouard Manet there to paint with him, capturing the idyllic surroundings on canvas. Today, Nathalie Decoster finds inspiration on the same hallowed grounds, working from her factory-turned-studio, casting sculptures out of bronze, stainless steel, and concrete.

Decoster started sculpting in 1984, and today works closely with a team to create her artworks using the cire perdue (lost wax) technique. A thin figure appears in most sculptures, usually in movement; in one piece he runs the inner circumference of a circle. “I work on the human condition, and this man is my messenger,” Decoster explains. “[He] is going against constraint, trying to break out.” It’s a fight for his life, captured in concrete.

On June 1, a retrospective of Decoster’s work went on display at one of British Columbia’s most picturesque arenas: the Mission Hill Winery in the Okanagan Valley placed 53 of her large-scale sculptures throughout their grounds. The public art, on show until October 2, has been a collaborative dream of Mission Hill proprietor Anthony von Mandl ever since a chance meeting between him and Decoster eight years ago in Bordeaux.

Like her messenger counterpart, Decoster’s feet are rarely planted firmly on the ground; exhibitions slated for later this year include Panama and Hong Kong. “I’m up in the plane lots,” she says. “I’m running into the world, and I’m dreaming a lot.”