Nugent, John Cullen

John Cullen Nugent, sculptor, educator (b at Montréal 5 Jan 1921). Studies at St John's University (Collegeville, Minn) exposed him to liberal ideals and the postwar Catholic renewal in the arts. In 1948 he moved to Lumsden, Saskatchewan, and executed liturgical commissions in silver and bronze until church resistance in the 1960s caused him to cease. After meeting American sculptor David Smith in 1961, Nugent gradually shifted to welded steel abstraction. This sculpture, for which he is best known, exhibits an awkward grace in its constructivist collage of prefabricated steel elements. The work often carries prairie landscape metaphors as in #1 Northern, his controversial 1976 commission for the Canadian Grain Commission building in Winnipeg (removed 1978, restored 1997). Nugent, who taught for many years at the University of Regina, has also executed public commissions for the BANFF CENTRE and the CBC Broadcast Centre (Regina).