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Rees' Pieces

Christopher Rees - Super Sculptor

by Elaine Weeks

He's been known to hob nob with Hollywood legends. His work is recognized around the world. He's tall, he's dark but he's not that fellow who played Superman in the movies. He's Christopher Rees, a very talented local sculptor, who has spent the last thirty years of his life immortalizing his subjects in clay.

rees1.jpgBorn in Redding, England, Rees settled in Windsor in 1969, after completing his studies in Fine Art at the West Sussex College of Arts and Crafts and at the Bournemouth and Poole College of Arts.

Rees' meticulous attention to detail means his sculptures are incredibly lifelike. He can capture the smile, the gesture and the carriage that conveys a subject's essential personality. To achieve his exacting standards, Rees devotes many hours to researching his subjects. His works include Canadian celebrities such as Dr. Roberta Bondar, Canada's first astronaut; scientist David Suzuki; prima ballerina Karen Kain; and Moe Closs, former president of Chrysler Canada.

In the early eighties, Rees completed a larger-than-life bust of former Windsor Mayor and Walkerville resident Bert Weeks. "He even captured my jowls!" joked Weeks at the unveiling.

Rees is pleased that this bust, which at one time was on display at Willistead Manor, will be included in the Bert Weeks Memorial Gardens which are being developed along the waterfront at the foot of Parent Avenue.

"Art has to be an unselfish thing," says Rees of his work. "You have to want to make people aware of the beautiful and profound things around them. When I sculpt, I try to get a little more out of myself each time.

Rees is best known for his sculpture of Marilyn Monroe, which has been featured on several Canadian and American television shows, in magazines, and in two recent books on the actress. Other Hollywood notables who have been immortalized by Rees include former talk show host Johnny Carson and actress Joan Collins.

Major corporations have commissioned Rees to sculpt retiring presidents and outstanding employees as a permanent recognition of exceptional service. His latest commission for DaimlerChrysler was a life-size bust of founder Walter P. Chrysler which is destined for the corporate headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany.

Rees was also asked to create a series of reliefs of race car and motorcycle drivers, boat races and airplane pilots, (including Amehlia Erhart) that are on display at the Motor Sports Hall of Fame of America in Novi, Michigan.

rees2.jpgRees has a continuing commission for a new church in London, England where he has already installed a life-size cruxifix and is now preparing to depict the Virgin Mary. "I used the photographs from the Shroud of Turin to create the face of Jesus," says Rees referring to the controversial piece of cloth believed to have wrapped the body of Christ.

Although Rees is at home with the stars, he enjoys creating sculptures of the 'stars' of families who commission him to immortalize a grandparent, son or daughter for a cherished family heirloom. When he is not on the road, Rees can be found at his studio on Pierre at Cataraqui and can be reached at 251-0522.

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