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Around the house: Art Deco design still delights – Ottawa Citizen
There was a lot going on last year, so you can be forgiven if you didn’t notice that it was more of less the 100th anniversary of Art Deco, the exuberantly modern design style that emerged in the 1920s. But if you have any interest in design, it’s still worth pausing to look at one of the defining influences on decorative art, architecture, and fashion in the last century.
Instantly recognizable by its sharp geometry and sleek symmetrical lines, Deco design also favoured bright, hot colours, and often accented with metals. There were also big, bold strokes of black and white—especially in interior design. New materials, including resins and plastics, not only expanded options for décor accessories, but made them more accessible and affordable for regular folk.
In an excellent piece in The Washington Post, Michelle Brunner notes that Deco influences seem to resurface in times of social transition or turmoil, citing 1950s diner aesthetic, space-agey 1960s’ design, and the Memphis movement of the 1980s.
A century later, Art Deco is still being celebrated, including in the recently-launched DXV Belshire bath collection, a suite of fittings, fixtures, and furniture that the luxury kitchen and bath brand says marries the optimism and elegance of the era with contemporary convenience and technology.
Developed over three years, the line was inspired by the Chrysler and Empire State Buildings, as well as the Stella Tower, the iconic structure designed in 1927 by Ralph Walker, a famous Art Deco designer who is credited with shaping the skyline of New York City during the Roaring Twenties.
Jewelry-like fittings are customizable, with a choice of lever, cross or cushion handles on low or high-spout faucets, and are available in satin brass, platinum nickel, brushed nickel, or chrome.
Cabinets and consoles are handcrafted in oak, walnut, and Carrara marble by Portuguese craftspeople. Wall-hung toilets and freestanding soaking tubs anchor the collection, which is available at showrooms across Canada.
Another deco design element we’re likely to see more of is ribbed surfaces, which was a common treatment for Art Deco ceramics. Over the last few years, it began re-appearing in soft furnishing. I recently saw the effect on Elmwood’s new Bregenz 20 cabinets—sleek, Shaker-style cabinetry with ribbed, cane-like inserts.
Deco’s penchant for black stone is reflected in the rise of the dark palettes in both kitchen and bath. One of the moodiest comes from Italian stone company Antolini, in the form of Black Cosmic, a deep-space shade of granite that can’t help but add drama to a space. Its veined white quartz and mica clusters stand out against the intense backdrop, giving it depth and personality.
From Caesarstone’s new Dark Collection there’s Oxidian, an inky black with a rust-like effect, and Tempal, a charcoal base with warm white hues.
Graphic floor and wall tiles are another way to get the look. Mass merchants like Home Depot have ceramic tiles with scalloped, herringbone, chevron and mosaic patterns—common Deco motifs—for floor, wall, and backsplash. Prices start at an accessible $7 per square foot.
Even the simplest accessories can nod to the grace and beauty of Art Deco.
Wild Sage—Bed Bath & Beyond’s in-house bedding, bath and accessories line—brings it into the bathroom with handsome, clean-lined wire accessories. Gemma baskets and three-tiered bath towers, for example, have the pleasing angularity of Deco design and come in chic black, gold, and silver. Prices for the line start at $7, so refreshing a bathroom won’t bust the budget.
Another smaller-scale, affordable option—a jazzy Ponti shower curtain or towel from Arren Williams’ line for The Bay. And to tie the topic together nicely, Williams’ pattern is inspired by Gio Ponti, the revered Italian architect who participated in the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts in Paris, from which Art Deco got its name, proving once again that everything old is—eventually—new again.
Art Meets Poetry – FAD magazine
Poetry was good in lockdown, being better suited to the screen than most literature or art. That makes it timely that two ambitious London shows currently combine art with poetry, even if they were necessarily in planning well before we learned the language of covid. They have prominent local partners: Shoreditch Library with PEER, The Poetry School with Southwark Park Galleries. Both PEER’s Swirl of Words / Swirl of Worlds and Southwark Park Galleries’ A Fine Day for Seeing combine an exhibition, a programme of events and workshops, and a publication. And both strike me as excellent in all three respects – though as I curated the latter with the poet Tamar Yoseloff, half of that assessment may be biased!
At Southwark Park Galleries (to 29 Aug), the focus is on partnerships between poets and artists: ten poets respond to ten artists, allowing the visitor to read or listen to each through the catalogue, online or via QR code in the gallery. The relationships vary greatly, from mother and daughter to long term collaborators to newly-mets. Perhaps the most unusual dialogue is between Basil Beattie and Maitreyabandhu. The former taught the latter at Goldsmiths Art College in the 1980s, but they hadn’t met since – the pupil is now a Buddhist, ordained into the Triratna Buddhist Order in 1990 – and has swapped painting for poetry, publishing three collections with Bloodaxe Books. He chose the huge and hugely impressive ‘Cause & Effect’ from 1980, and wrote about the time when he was an art student before he stepped across…
the threshold into the present tense: Thatcher
gives way to Grindr, Brexit and XR
as Basil, who has hardly changed, makes tea.
We prop his pictures up against the wall
and talk about the dead – Hoyland gone
and Albert Irvin “a new joke everyday”
dying at the average age, in the average way,
as if that made a difference. The paintings stand
in working studio light and measured calm
as tribute to the eye and heart and hand,
mute surfaces of know-how, marking time.
PEER’s show (to 14 Aug) considers the relationship between language and cultural identity, notably represented by publication of a free book containing 94 poems in each of 94 languages identified as being spoken in Hackney, all with English translations. The poet Stephen Watts selected these, and while you might suspect the quality of the work would be subsidiary to its concept, it turns out to be a consistently strong collection. Watts will reads his own poems at the closing event. Meanwhile the extensive exhibition brings together classic fusions of art and language (by, for example, Kurt Schwitters, Susan Hiller and John Smith) with less-known but equally fascinating works. I was taken with half a dozen of Pete Smith’s ‘National Geographic Yellow Collages’ from a series ongoing since 2009. They consist of words and phrases removed from National Geographic magazine and pasted onto a magazine-sized background of horizontal yellow or gold strips themselves cut from the publication’s iconic front-cover border. That makes them visually striking, but they also operate wonderfully as semi-found poems of surreal conjunction.
Art writer and curator Paul Carey-Kent sees a lot of shows: we asked him to jot down whatever came into his head
New Public Art Installation to pay homage to Midland's history – Barrie 360 – Barrie 360
from the Town of Midland
The corner of King Street and Bayshore Drive in Midland will soon be the home to a new public art installation.
“Sown,” an artwork conceived by local artists Holly Archer and Camille Myles, will be placed in its new home in downtown Midland this summer. The piece is being fabricated by Lafontaine Iron Werks with Toque Innovations of Midland as the technical designer. The inspiration behind “Sown” is the rich industrial history of Midland, with elements of the design representing the five fingers that built this community (logging, shipping, the railway, agriculture, and manufacturing) as well as the five bays from the foundational Indigenous legend of Kitchikewana.
“Developing vibrant public spaces and promoting a beautiful Midland is one of Council’s current strategic priorities,” said Mayor Stewart Strathearn. “This installation will complete the work on King Street, and we thank the Rural Economic Development program for their grant to assist with this project’s streetscaping, including the commissioning of this new work of art. I also want to thank the local artist and fabricators for crafting this piece to pay homage to the unnamed, unsung community members who have been instrumental in building Midland to where it is today.”
The artist team responded to a call for proposals that the Town issued in early 2021. “Sown” was selected based on the Town of Midland’s Public Art Policy, criteria outlined in the request for proposals, and the installation site.
“The Town of Midland recognizes that art and culture have been and will always be integral parts of our community,” said David Denault, Midland’s Chief Administrative Officer. “We are very proud of our town and our beautiful new main street and are excited to showcase all that we have to offer to both residents and visitors.”
The artwork is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, through the Rural Economic Development Program, and the public can learn more about this artwork as it’s being created. Visit EngagingMidland.ca/Sown-Public-Art-Installation for artistic descriptions of the artwork, concept boards, and details on the elements of design.
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