Place as Art: Where is it?
July 3, 2020
A place can be specific or abstract, conceptual or pictorial. In this special editorial, TOAF59 artists will explore the various meanings and symbols of places. From painting, collage and jewellery, each work manifests the artist's interpretations and connections with spaces and places. Let's see where they take us!
Signing a Place
'"If You Build It..."', Rob Croxford, Acrylic on Canvas, 2020, 121.92 x 91.44 x 3.81 cm
Rob's 'Sign Language' series is reminiscent of the neon signage from "The Zanzibar Tavern" on Yonge Street in Toronto. The assorted fonts and overlaying composition of the sign draw attention to every detail of the work. Every font speaks to a different characteristic of vintage aesthetics. Light bulbs are arranged in the red frame, while the neon light is bent out of an elongated tube. Rob takes us to look at the beauty of typography and its making. Texture also plays a significant role in making this work special. The rusting surfaces and the colour palette add a layer of nostalgia to the sign, suggesting the age of a place. What kind of vibe are you imagining about a place when you see a sign like this?
The line "If You Build It, He Will Come" comes from the 1989 film, 'Field of Dream.' The main character, Ray, hears a whisper one night that if he builds a baseball field, the great Shoeless Joe Jackson will come.
Keeping a Place in Your Heart
'Gold Map Pendants', Shoshana Farber Jewellery, 10k gold, 2020, 25 x 1.5 x 0.2 cm
Shoshana interprets places differently. They can be abstract delineations of grids and lines ⏤ how we often make sense of a place in a map. Shoshana explores the concept of home in her works. "Home has always felt familiar but stagnant, and Away exciting but incomplete." Her wearable symbols bring about memories of daily routine. As we recognize a specific route commuting to work, or that route to our first date, or the pathway to home, wearing these symbols of places inspires us to remember and move forward.
An Overlooked Place
'I Was Here', Christine Hirtescu, Oil on Canvas, 2019, 20.32 x 25.4 x 1.27 cm
Who was here? Illuminating the beauty of regularly overlooked scenes, Christine enjoys painting intimate images with her palette knife. The work impresses upon us the passing moment of glancing over an overlooked place. Where could it be? Aside from the wonder, scrutinizing Christine's textures through her varied palette knife painting techniques is fascinating. Shapes and colour changes are delicately set on the canvas as the artist's hand moves in different motions with the knife. Christine has created a place that's overlooked, but still familiar. It is obscure, yet arresting under her palette knife.
Escaping a Place
'Explore the Party', Marjolyn van der Hart, Acrylic and Collage on Board, 2020, 24 x 24 x 1 cm
"The couple standing in the midst of this interior look towards the word Explore ⏤ as though yearning for an escape. The outside represents the place of excitement." The mise-en-scène of the dressed couple in the interior, the pool, the furniture, and the parasols take us to explore this party in an almost dream state. Spaces and objects are seemingly connected, which renders an interesting sense of bewilderment upon the viewer. The spaces appear ambiguous as surfaces and shapes come together. All elements are collaged in a pastel colour tone as it reminds us of fading nostalgia. If you are curious about Marjolyn’s process of art-making, stay tuned for her studio tour/chat and demonstration on her social media (July 3, 2 PM Live on Facebook; July 9, 7 PM Live on Instagram).
An Abstract Space
'Moments in Time', Lori Mirabelli, Acrylic on Canvas, 2020, 152.4 x 96.52 x 3.81 cm
Currently based in Toronto, Lori wasn't thinking of an artistic career until 2009. She quit her full-time job, sold her house, and moved to the big city. Could the Toronto cityscape have anything to do with her visions of art-making? With an emphasis on space, Lori likes to use bold lines and geometric forms in her works. Expertly and sophisticatedly intersecting, her abstract forms allure moments of fleeting, shining lights or the hustle, bustle, and flow of a city. The colour clusters are deliberately spaced on the canvas, composing and suggesting moments in time. What do you see? With a background in psychology, Lori might have used a distinct perspective to convey her feelings and express what she's trying to say.
These works are available at TOAF59!
Get to know our 300+ participating artists, enjoy virtual events from July 2-12, and browse our curated collections! TOAF is proud to celebrate the 59th anniversary of Canada's longest-running contemporary art fair in a digital format this year.