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Xpace's Grey Area


In a brief statement for the show, Bob Hambly (of Toronto-based design firm Hambly & Woolley) writes, "I am proud to say that my design work is influenced by art and my art is influenced by design." Put so simply and clearly, it's hard to find fault in such a philosophy. Though one might be surprised to discover that you'll actually walk a dangerous and slippery line if you attempt to mix art with design, or vice versa... even though they seem to just naturally fit together so perfectly. Even at an institution like the Ontario College of Art and Design, where you'd assume the two would be almost inseparable, it truly does feel a little taboo to venture across that line in the sand.

Perhaps it's a good sign then that the OCAD-based gallery Xpace is putting on Grey Area: A visual conversation about design and art and the space inbetween, which features a selection of work by some of Toronto's top designers. So just how do we make these two creative (though sometimes stubborn) kids get along?

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Well, the way Xpace seems to look at it, simply opening up a dialogue about the issue has proven to be a great start. The opening night last Friday brought out a healthy handful of young artists and designers, as well as a number of "normies". That's what we call the rest of you people. I'm completely kidding of course (or am I?). ANYWAY... it was a great turnout. As part of the show, curator Jayme Spinks asked each designer to include a written statement about how their design philosophies interact with their artistic ones. Though there is definitely an agreement across the board that the two disciplines need to work more closely together, it's interesting to see how each take on the relationship differs, even with the slightest of details. Some feel that design should help with the decision making aspects of artistic ventures while art should encourage design to explore more. Others choose to simply think of art and design as the same thing, and not worry so much about labels and categories. Personally, I've been leaning more towards the latter as of late.

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The show covers a number of different mediums. From print work, to video, to sculpture, there's definitely a wide range of talents and voices represented in the show. My personal favorite is the sculptural piece shown above by Bob Hambly. Very architectural, but very precious and tactile aswell. Unfortunately these works will be up for a short period of time as the show runs only from July 6th to the 15th. So make sure you drop by sometime this weekend if you're strolling down Queen West near Ossington. Come join the conversation. You'll be happy you did.

Grey Area runs July 6-15, 2007 @ Xpace, 58 Ossington Avenue. Open Wed-Sun 12-6pm.


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