Where’s the fork?
For the third time, a Fork in the Road art installation will be going up at an intersection — the fork — of Leacock Road and Kitley Line 8 in Elizabethtown-Kitley Township.
Mayor Brant Burrow said Bill Gibbons and Chris Banfalvi will work on a new installation after the previous two were vandalized and removed over a four-year period.
Gibbons confirmed with Brockvilleist on Jan. 15 that yes, the fork will be replaced, but he didn’t want to go into much detail at this time.
“I don’t know when it will be installed,” he said, as they’re “just starting the process for building a new one. It will be a bit different than the one that was there and harder to remove.”
Gibbons noted that he would share more of the design details when it’s ready for installation.
The steel fork stood 10 feet in height and was 2.5 feet across at the prongs. It cost about $3,600 to make and weighed about 200 pounds – not including the boulder base, which was about two-tonnes.
Banfalvi is the artist who created it. When asked how he could make it more vandal-resistant, he said he’d use more of a mix of heavy steel instead of stainless.
“Less material value and more of a pain for someone to cut or torch,” Banfalvi said.
Banfalvi is a metal artist who lives on Highway 29, not far from the fork in the road, and has created other art pieces for Gibbons.
Banfalvi has a love for bringing ideas to life with designers and creating public art with functionality, his website – darkgenesis.org – states. The demanding physical nature of the process makes each work of art personal. Each piece retains a part of him.
Dark Genesis is an artistic style in relation to Art Nouveau and Art Deco. Gibbons is the art collector who lives on a farm at 42 Leacock Rd., near the fork, and is the owner of the private contemporary art collection housed at his AOG Gallery. He has a collection of Canadian and international art and the gallery is open by appointment.
Formerly, Gibbons and his daughter Sarah were maple syrup producers and would often have people call and ask for directions from the fork in the road.
Gibbons said he thought the fork installation piece would be something whimsical to see in the township, from where to offer better directions for those looking for his gallery or walking trail.
IN THE BEGINNING
The original fork was created in 2019 by Banfalvi, who was commissioned and paid for by Gibbons. Banfalvi also created the second fork – which the township paid for — that was vandalized last year.
The fork was mounted by a rod into a 2,000-pound rock and appeared to have been cut at the bottom where it was welded into the rock base.
Burrow said the artist and the art collector were not seeking any funding from the taxpayers when the project popped up on the township’s Nov. 8 council agenda.
“Bill approached me just prior to the holidays, indicating that he and Chris had been talking about a different approach to the art installation,” Burrow said. “One that would be a LOT more secure – and that he wanted to proceed with replacing the fork.”
The mayor said Gibbons felt the taxpayers should not have to pay for the installation again, “so all he was looking for from the township was permission to work in the road allowance, and assistance it coordinating locales for any underground services (Bell, etc.) which may exist nearby.”
The mayor said at the time of the vandalism last fall that it was a shame someone would do that to this piece of art, as it was a well-loved addition to the township.
The township’s deductible was higher than the cost of the piece.
The vandalism to the fork last summer was reported to the police, the mayor said, but no charges were laid, nor were there ever any solid leads that came forward. It had appeared, according to Gibbons, that someone took a power grinder to the base of the sculpture to remove it from the rock base.
AOG GALLERY ART TRAIL
Gibbons has created a walking loop on his property that has many art installations along its pathway. Now the trail is just over four kilometres in length and has 40 art pieces. The new one-kilometre loop has no art pieces, “as of yet,” he noted.
“Everyone is welcome to walk, ski, or snowshoe the trails from dawn until dusk,” Gibbons said in an email. No appointment is needed, but if you’d like a guided tour, he’d be happy to set that up. If you need accessible accommodations, please let Gibbons know, and he can make arrangements for that as well.
You can’t miss the trailhead – just look for the barn on the north side of the road with a giant mural painted on the side. This piece of “graffiti style” art was created in 2020 by two spray paint artists, Falldown and Snakeboy.