Cutting Edge Canadian Design on Bay Street
The third iteration of Radiant Dark offers a dramatic shift in venue. While in previous years, the latest cutting-edge Canadian designs were grouped on a single floor of the Burroughes Building, for 2010 curators Shaun Moore and Julie Nicholson of MADE moved it to the heart of the Financial District in the lobby of Commerce Court West.
The change in venue is meant to help the show reach new audiences and so far it seems to be working. On Friday, plenty of curious onlookers stopped by on their lunch breaks to see what some of the country's top design talent has been up to. While designers like The Brothers Dressler, Bev Hisey and Rob Southcott (below) may not be household names they continue to produce polished, presentable and accessible pieces.
Through the talents and skills of those three plus 44 additional artists and craftspeople, this years Radiant Dark show emerges as heavy on the radiant and light on the dark. Subtitled Assets and Values, the exhibit showcases pieces that are bright and colourful but less edgy than in years past. All the work on display are prototypes and limited edition pieces (most of them are for sale) that quite often have a backstory or are attempts to translate feelings and emotions into physical products. Another common thread is the subversion of iconic shapes, colours and forms. The best pieces in this show are at once confounding, thought provoking and beautiful.
Creative use of recycled materials is one of the easier themes to identify. Waste turned into want is exemplified here by pieces like
Newsworthy (top) and the
Bottle Lights (below). The latter are made from empty bottles found in an abandoned factory and paired with wooden cutoffs from the Dressler's workshop. Cordner's imposing black lamp is, surprisingly, made entirely of newsprint.
Look closely and you'll notice there are no old men pictured in the middle of this money. Artist Christine Lieu's money tree (below) is actually a modern day interpretation of the Liang Piao ticket system, a monetary system used in China from the 1950's-1980's to facilitate the purchase of essential items like rice and fabric.
More solid are the vessels we store paper and metal in.
Jewellery Pallet is a practical storage container that outwardly displays gold karat values on the front of each tray.
Some artists discuss our inability to actually own our truest assets, and provide us with representations of that which we all own. It's in this category where the true showstoppers are for me.
gives us Great Outdoors (below), a collection that allows you to bring the outdoors in for a while in the form of cushions, placemats and a picnic basket.
But my personal favourite is the sculptural lighting by
. Aptly called Range, it's a light encased mini mountain range that I could study for hours.
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