Dowsing Rod Series

Artist Statement

Two years ago while vacationing at the family farm, a friend noticed the dowsing rods lying on the porch and asked what they were. I explained that they were used to find water underground.  The dowsing process involves holding two metal rods in each hand and as you walk over the land the rods will move involuntarily if there is water below. I learned this technique from my father, who was taught by his father. I was intrigued to see if I could turn this process into a drawing or some sort of image.

Like a seismograph, I attached a string to one dowsing rod and then a pen to the end of the string. Moving across the land I let the pen flow over the sheet of paper recording the movements of the dowsing rod—pulling the drawings from the ground. Over the next six months, I made approximately fifteen thousand drawings with a dowsing rod.

Back in my studio with stacks of these dowsed drawings, I was intrigued on where I could take them.  The involuntary line the dowsing rod had made was foreign to the twenty years of drawings I had previously produced. One day in the studio I started reworking the dowsed drawings—strengthening some lines, leaving others letting my eye find its way in.

These drawings begged for large scale. I did not want to simply transfer these to a large canvas and paint them in, losing the spontaneity. A fellow artist suggested that I could simply enlarge them by making prints. This process then allowed me to work with the background without losing the quality of the original drawing.

These prints have now found a home between my painting and drawing practice, acting as a bridge between what had been two separate practices.

Artist Biography

Based in Calgary, Alberta, CurtisCutshaw received his B.F.A from the Alberta College of Art + Design in 1989. While still a student, Cutshaw was accepted to the New York Loft Program through the Nova Scotia School of Art and Design where he was mentored by well known American artists Peter Halley and David Diao. After graduation, Cutshaw then attended the prestigious residency program at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Skowhagen, Maine, USA, and was the first artist from Calgary to be accepted since 1973. British artist John Walker and American artists Terry Winters, Connie Fox and Bill King mentored him. Cutshaw has shown across Canada and in numerous international exhibitions and his work is included in many collections including Alberta Foundation For The Arts, Cenovus Energy, Encana Corporation, Mount Royal University, Shell Canada Limited and Wilson Laycraft LLP. Kostuik Gallery has represented Curtis Cutshaw since 2000.

Curtis Cutshaw’s mediums have always included painting and drawing. In 2005, he developed a unique approach to drawing where he acts as the “medium” through which dowsing rods, held by the artist, move when water is found underground. With pens on paper held beneath them, several layers of lines are recorded, much like a seismograph. They are then scanned, enlarged and colored, each image sized according to the scale. His work has progressed into painting and collage on panel to his newest series of assemblages, a combination of found signage and repurposed wood. His artist statements reflect his preference to relay the story of discovery and relation in his mind in the fruition of a new series and then later the evolution of his thoughts over the time span of the series life.


Watermark – $5,600 / $1,900
Vocal – $7,425 / $1,900
Close Call Version 2 – $5,550 / $4,450 / $1,900
North Branch – $5,200
Tower – $3,000
Spring – $4,600
Shoreline – $4,850
Mist – $3,500
Go – $7,300 / $1,900
Construct – $8,650 / $1,900
Hallow – $2,750
Laver – $8,100
The Fourth of February – $4,850 / $1,900
Barb – $6,450
State Version – $4,400
Bar Web – $6,325
Swipe – $2,600
Plain Ridge – $4,500
Full Version – $1,800
Staple Version 2 – $1,800
Tuesday – $1,850
Start – $1,800
To – $2,000
November – $1,800

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Vancouver, BC, V6B 2W9, Canada

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