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Dohosu Reflection
Dohosu Reflection

    My name is Chris Le Page and welcome to C.L.O.N.E Gallery, an  on line art gallery that caters to eclectic art and architecure. Read reviews on art, look at art, engage in questions about art or just become inspired to be creative on your own . Please feel free to leave your comments or suggestions.

 

Architecture is the masterly, correct and magnificent play of volumes brought together in light.[1]

Le Corbusier

In society’s march to urbanization citizens are left with the forced burden of vertical living such as is seen in the mass production of condominiums. Such tacit compartmentalization of the resident is not only imposed today but also subsequently accepted. This in turn leads to a turning inward and a de-personalization as the individual is a captive of mass replication.

 To this end, Renee Van Halm has captured this internalization and exposed the inner environment of both private and public space in her exhibition Reverse Engineering. In a series of grid like settings, Van Halm has set out to highlight the ubiquitous box that serves as dwelling place for both worker and tenant. Devoid of all human form, the depictions focus on the interior or “reverse” view of shelter as existence. Inner surroundings are broken down into a sequence of light filled spaces and shapes in differing hue that read as abstract form but also serve as functional architecture. In this world of textured atmosphere space itself becomes a blatant energy that is both palpable and shifting leaving all expectations, so to speak, at the door.

 With deliberate precision Van Halm has deliberately colour blocked square and rectangular shapes that when viewed, either reveal or reflect the intended impersonal scene. What could be read as having a Mondrian influence the abstract geometrical interiors are states of pure form, chroma and rhythm where horizontal and vertical lines and planes intersect. As such one can also immediately refer to the De Stijl movement and the premise by this group that the edifice should be a “total work of art, incorporating colour, form and intersecting planes.”[2] Proponents of this movement also favoured an anonymous and depersonalized aesthetic that can be read into the interiors of the paintings. A sense of a scaled down sensibility with the possibility of the utilization of a breathing and living space is also reflected. Instead of imagining a state of passive complacency, the intended occupant in these interiors could be an active participant within the art of dynamic habitation.   

 Van Halm has taken images from Modernist buildings in Vancouver and Berlin and has also instilled a sense of the architectonic possibilities of the Cubist picture plane. The influence shown in these works by the artist come from the deconstruction of collages by the Cubists’ and the subsequent re-formation of the intended image. The idea behind this was to envision differing viewpoints and the “unfolding” of the object in the immediate environment. What had at once been utilized for one purpose is now taken apart and assembled anew with implication of a new function. The images on display in Van Halm’s body of work ask the viewer to imagine the inward process and function of an architectural space. I like the implication that the artist utilizes in these paintings and the fact that they reference historical precedents from the past along with the excitement of a new envisioning of space.

Boss Window Image courtesy of Birch Libralato

 In Boss Window we are shown a vague shot of what could be interpreted as both a depiction of an interior view or one that is looking out to an exterior environment. Here all sense of foundation is lost as the viewer is left to interpret colour and intersecting planes with a suspended sense of judgment. The diaphanous pale blue rectangle along with the reflection of window frames in the lower third of this vinyl polymer on linen painting depict what could be the blissful core of a light filled loft full of potential for the joyful buyer. The dissecting black vertical form to the left may be interpreted as a pillar or interior piloti which serves to anchor the weightlessness of this mechanized interior. In fact the architect Le Corbusier had spoken of and advocated the new dwellings of his era as a “machine for living in”[3]  where the necessities of the interior were stripped down to a bare minimum. This tenet is definitely at play in the depiction as one is left with the sense of aloof coldness within this habitat. Looking further into the painting the spectator is afforded what could be a possible infinite view towards a murky backdrop of perhaps other dwelling machines. Van Halm has seamlessly blended figure and ground in an optical collage that blurs distinction between interior and exterior.

Gallery Image courtesy of Birch Libralato

 Keeping the “machine” reference in mind, we are afforded a glimpse into a stripped down aesthetic with Gallery where the icy coldness is again at play in wall, cabinetry and a bank of overhead fluorescent fixtures. While the occupant is detached from the surroundings, the interior fixtures serve as a necessity of living for the inherent function that they will serve in this modernist setting. As this depiction reads as a repository for inhabitation ready and waiting for all personal human touches, one still senses that there is a larger domination hovering over the inhabitant who must remain subservient to the architecture itself. For instance, the aforementioned bank of luminous lighting hovers above like the mother ship ready to engulf and swallow those below. Do we inhabit the space or does the structure itself inhabit the occupant? As modern architecture becomes at times more impersonal these are the considerations that builders must grapple with, which must also strike a balance between form and function.

 Van Halm renders space and emptiness as a substance to be manipulated with while at the same instance leaving us at odds with such an aloof realm. The masses themselves are forceful and imply a sense of push and pull. Voids and wall take on a strength unto their own and planes act as counterweight to the surrounding space merging both architecture and light with a manipulated aesthetic.


[1] Le Corbusier, Vers une architecture, Paris, 1923.

[2] See William J.R. Curtis, Modern Architecture Since 1900 (London, Phaidon Press Ltd., 1982),  p.152.

[3] Ibid., p. 171.

Finding one’s way around the cities of John Hartman’s large-scale paintings is like an abstract cartographical exercise. There is just a smidgen of detail to identify each metropolis without dwelling upon superfluous facets. Granted the intangible is a mix of swirling colour and texture but traces of representation do exist to the discerning eye.

The eighteen aerial views displayed are developed from the most part from the artist’s collective memory with the aid of immediate sketches taken on the spot. To this end the resulting product is a canvas that contains a sense of naivety but with a masterful painterly quality filled with heavy impasto and lurching broad strokes of the brush. The emphasis is on port cities and the surrounding waterways that contribute to the economic and communal gain for each.

Calgary Image courtesy of preview-art.com

Luminosity reflects from these rivers and canals and acts as a background for the hidden and seething urbanity that lies just under the surface. Edifices, roads, bridges and green space somehow merge together to form a rich fabric of density and familiarity. In some cases the city dissolves into an uncanny pulsing miasma of shapes and chroma. Each metropolis is afforded its own colour schema ranging from an ice cream coloured Halifax to a dun looking Hamilton. In Hartman’s best use of perspective we are treated to a view of the Thames in London while in Halifax the curvature of the earth can be seen as an aircraft floats past.

In choosing an airborne point of view, Hartman recreates the age-old fantasy of man to soar above their own environment that even inspired da Vinci to draw an aerial view of the Chiana Valley. In this vain the artist is subverting the normative everyday reality of our surroundings and feeding them back to us with vigour and use of the mind’s eye. Given the seething blend of everyday continued existence that one must endure this type of atmospheric vision gives us as citizens pause to step back and examine how we exist as a community.

Also included in the exhibition are his watercolour and graphite inspiration works that are bursts of line and shape and can easily stand on their own. Working notes and compositional layout schemes also accompany the notebook pages. The end result is an animated and uncritical depiction of cities without the pathos of everyday life.

Halifax Image courtesy of cbc.ca

The exhibition ran at Winchester Galleries in Victoria last December.

The model of the artist run centre is more relevant today than ever as an increasing number of artists are emerging from educational institutions or from periods of possible isolation through a self-taught direction. These artists are providing the art appreciative public with more realms of expression, pushing boundaries both personally, and culturally requiring a nurturing environment of supportive peers. The re-emergence of “outsider” art which is gaining more attention also deserves an atmosphere of acceptance and promotion which other fellow member artists are more likely to bestow. Having a network of other like-minded individuals within the same realm to draw inspiration from is not only conducive to creative endeavours but also feeds the emotional and social needs which can be quite devoid in commercial galleries. 

Profit driven galleries and museums tend to be for the most part a closed and restricted culture. They nevertheless try to cater to the public in providing diversity within exhibitions while at the same time not readily accepting any notion of thoughtful creativity outside of their own standard of quality. The late culture critic Edward Said once stated, “we live in a world dominated by experts and narrowly defined fields of knowledge.” This closed culture is more apt to take on the role of preacher to the un-initiated whereas the communal village of an artist run centre is likely to draw upon peer involvement and act as an all-embracing “anthropologist” to bridge this educational gap. Artist run centres are a vital link for people who are culturally aware and wish to view art actively as opposed to those who wish to engage passively within a safe framework. 

This article was published in the book De-Centred by YYZ Aritsts  Outlet

http://www.yyzartistsoutlet.org

It is great to see the proliferation of art fairs in Toronto in the past few years. Granted ours do not have the same cache as some of the larger and long established events, but nonetheless we continue to offer something for every taste. Therefore, it is with the latest offering, The Artist’s Project http://www.theartistprojecttoronto.com held this year at the Queen Elizabeth Building at the CNE grounds. It was a little bit of a schlep taking public transport to the site but the venue was bright and spacious with well-demarcated spacing and signage. 

On offering was a proliferation of artists with a range of mediums including drawing, painting, photography, encaustic, sculpture and installation. Although there was an over abundance of trees and landscapes represented in some of these mediums it was a great way for the un-initiated general public to acquaint themselves with the art and artists and possibly take home a piece to start a collection or add to an existing one. This fair being a representation of perceptual rather than conceptual art, it was an easy stroll from aisle to aisle. 

Special features such as Installation Alley, Video Artbox and the Queen Competition added a little depth to balance the monotony of the booths. Art Chats and Art Walks rounded out the fair by adding an educational component for those who could be a little mystified or intimidated by viewing art or by the artistic process in general. 

Most artists were only too willing to talk about their work and explain the technique and steps that went in to producing their pieces. With such a range of inspiration, it was not hard to pick up some advice for the budding artist or collector in each of us. 

Here are my top three picks, not in any particular order: 

1.   Faye Mullen   Mass: a Study  “ I am an artist and I weigh.” 

In this installation piece, the artist could be seen astride one end of a teeter-totter with the other end being held up by her weight in bricks. Mullen has resolved her work to capture in quantifiable terms an artist’s worth in physical terms. In today’s weak economy an artist is one of those who is caught in limbo relying on grants and sales to shore up their practice. By physically representing the weight of an artist with objects Mullen has succeeded in capturing and representing a sometimes invisible and forgotten entity. 

  1. Queen Competition

 In honour of the new venue, The Queen Elizabeth Building, the exhibitors were asked to create a piece based on the theme of “Queen.” On display were some creative representations of the Queen in some precarious depictions as well as an out-sized industrial looking metal crown and scepter. I think I even might have seen a roving installation piece attired in regal splendor!

 3.   Robert Malinowski   www.robertmalonowski.com

 Malinowski’s light and humorous graphite drawings of adults absorbed in a playful and fantastical world are engaging and superb in technique. These images to me evoke references to Jude Griebel who captures the same playful world, but in that of the young.

Other notable artists of mention:

 Warren Hoyano  

Elizabeth Forrest  

Dominique Prevost   www.dominiqueprevost.com

Russell Brohier         www.russellbrohier.com

 

Image courtesy of http://www.notcot.org

In today’s fast paced world where instantaneous is the new norm and the word “slow” is anathema in our society, it is comforting to see that some forms of art have not taken on this trait. Therefore, it is with the exhibit “Origamic Architecture” that I stumbled upon at the Japan Foundation. If one has not been to this centre in the Colonnade Building on Bloor St. I highly encourage you to visit. It is a calm and comforting oasis in the city, highly in keeping with the Japanese aesthetic. 

On display in this show were card stock that had been carefully and meticulously crafted into stunningly complex models of buildings, monuments, temples and abstract forms. These three-dimensional forms are akin to pop-up models that one usually associates with children’s books. However, these creations are constructed out of a single sheet of paper, whereas pop-ups utilize several. High art this may not be, but any type of creativity that speaks to oneself regardless of the medium or the degree of acceptability or cache it holds within the art world, should be enough to warrant investigation. Some may call this work “crafty” and not art at all, however art is subjective to the viewer and I believe that one should be open to all types of inspiration. 

The models on display were carefully cut with a technical knife, folded and required due patience, skill and mechanical expertise. The results are dramatic, minimalist, monotone  zen like renderings of the implied form complete with openings for doors and windows, dramatic rooflines and decorative accoutrements.  To say the skill of an architect is needed may not be far from the truth. This is definitely a slow and laborious method of creating an object, however the result is one of understated beauty that engages the viewer to contemplate not only the positive but negative spatial occurrences. 

The late Masahiro Chatani (1934-2008) an architect by trade and the founder of Origamic Architecture designed each piece. He was passionate about this type of work and traveled extensively teaching and exhibiting his talent along the way. 

To re-iterate it was soothing to view such creativity contrived with slow, deliberate and painstaking beauty.

Click on image to view larger image in new window

Image courtesy of Odon Wagner Gallery

The tables are turned in the art world in Toronto, if just for a short period. The artist Viktor Mitic has produced thirty-six individual portraits of gallery owners and dealers that figure prominently within the city. The exhibition is entitled Dealers, which was showcased at the Odon Wagner Gallery. 

These insightful and personable pieces are rendered in acrylic, oil, and Japanese pigment set against a gold foil background on board giving them each a stately presence. Mitic has drawn out the character of each entity and exalted them to new heights in a casual yet dramatic fashion. The blurred and sometimes hairy edges of the ink outlines around each figure add a sense of playfulness while the gold backdrop harkens back to a time rife with religious connotations. 

The artist manages to subvert the norm as now the dealer is on display rather than the art and artist. The focus is now on the purveyors of art rather than the producers of art. If there is even a slight hint of un-easiness in the aura of the subjects it may lay in the fact that even artists identities for the most part are not laid bare as are in these portraits. The sitter confronts the viewer as if caught in the act, which imparts a sense of approachability and endearment. Mitic confesses he took several pictures of each subject with only a cell phone camera and that each session lasted mere moments. I believe that this mode of research and spontaneity in the poses only increases the directness of the work and reveals the inner nature of all involved. Take for example the depiction of Olga Korper. Here the doyenne of the art world in Toronto is represented in all her striking singularity. This work embodies a departure for Mitic from his usual and sometimes divisive style of portraiture that involves political representation, screw art and bullet hole paintings. 

Also included as part of the exhibition is an excellent virtual catalogue highlighting all thirty-six portraits and a hardcover book to accompany the show which designates a separate cover for each sitter. 

Mitic has succeeded in identifying and personalizing gallery owners and dealers while at the same time making the Toronto art scene just a little more approachable and accessible. 

www.odonwagnergallery.com

www.viktormitic.ca

To enter into Alexander Calder’s world is a fascinating glimpse into a realm of fun and fantasy. Currently on exhibition at the AGO is Alexander Calder: The Paris Years which affords the viewer a rare treat of his miniature circus that the sculptor fabricated from found materials and performed in front of live audiences. When Calder was in Paris in the early 1920’s he befriended many artists from which he drew much inspiration. His lifelong fascination with the circus led him to construct the simple yet intriguing true to life mechanical moving performers during his stay, which delighted both young and old for many years. 

When one thinks of this artist, you immediately conjure up images of hanging mobiles designed in primary colours floating effortlessly above your head. However, this gregarious man shows us the kid within in presenting the characters and animals of the big top. Included in the exhibition is a video of the artist performing the circus in front of children alongside his preliminary drawings and sketches, traveling suitcases, mobiles and stabiles and wire sculptures. Do not miss the very short video portraying Josephine Baker, the sensual chanteuse who captivated Paris in the day and who was a favourite of Calder. 

calder-circus

Image courtesy of artandculture.com

“Sandy” (as he was known to his friends) went on over the years to construct even larger mobiles and stabiles that adorned buildings and public areas and are now iconic symbols of the artist’s enduring legacy. His engineering background gave him the impetus and knowledge to construct these mobiles, some with differing centres of gravity but which are set into motion with the slightest of breezes.

 The artist was readily accomplished in drawing and painting but upon meeting Mondrian in Paris it gave him the shock that set into motion the idea that art need not be static. As he states, “Why must art be static? The next step is sculpture in motion.” Indeed he succeeded in realizing this possibility.

           

It is certain to say that I was somewhat under whelmed with Nuit Blanche this year. To be fair I only had time to view the offerings in Zone A and B. What started out as an event in Paris many years ago has traversed the ocean and arrived in Toronto four years ago. I remember volunteering at Hart House the first year and noting how magical the event transpired. It really was art focused that first attempt with themed installations and relevant artists focused on bringing a convergence of art and dialogue to a curious public. This year the night felt like it was really pushing the boundaries of what art is, and what the un-initiated viewer might really perceive as art. 

Forget about battling the wrestlers in Battle Royal by Shaun El C. Leonardo at the Bay St. Bus Terminal (although it was hilarious to see the blindfolded young men from the audience tentatively stepping around the ring) you really had to battle the crowds of people and line-ups at many venues. Part frat party, part family picnic it in fact felt like a glorified tourist attraction with the hordes rushing from site to site just to see how much they could view in one evening. With heads bowed downwards on their smart phones and maps in hand, it was a test to navigate the sidewalk crowds. With Bay St. closed from Dundas to Front it certainly helped with crowd control but the quality along that strip left a lot to be desired. If a carnival ride stationed outside of First Canadian Place is “art” well then that is a stretch.

 Love him or hate him, the culture buster of the art world, Jeff Koons was a standout with his monumental inflated silver Rabbit Balloon hovering over the entrance of Sears in the Eaton Centre. It was very attention grabbing to see children and adults alike lying on the ground looking up at that fifty-foot animal. The Wiccan duo Fastwurms brought us Skry-Pod (although skrying is a form of divination that involves gazing into a reflective service) in the Sheraton Centre that involved free Tarot readings amongst the waterfall tableau of the hotel. Attired in stereotypical witch’s costumes the pair divined the future of two citizens at a time by candlelight. Staying within the theme, Witches Cradles by the Centre For Tactical Magic saw individuals suspended in a cloth cocoon, sensory deprived above the floor of the Allen Lambert Atrium at BCE Place. It was an eerie feeling with the quietness of the scene combined with the pulsing lighting throughout the space. In fact the aura throughout Zone A and B took on a quite supernatural sense with the offerings on display such as just described along with Katie-Bethune Leaman’s Ghost Chorus and the ethereal music emanating from the speakers at City Hall to accompany D.A. Therrien’s 4 Letter Word Machine

Other less notable pieces were Santiago Sierra’s NO which consisted of a large tilted ten-foot tall model of yes, the word “no” on a flat bed truck. I wasn’t the only person with the same under-whelmed feeling with this exhibit. As I was walking away from the site, I heard a woman say, “What are we looking at…you’ve got to be kidding.” Respire by Anna Friz also failed to impress with the multitude of noiseless radio receivers suspended from the ceiling of the lobby of 100 Yonge St. 

In this world of instant everything and the needless luxury of a throwaway society I guess I also have a problem with the idea of instant artists producing instant art. This year’s Nuit Blanche was more amusing then stimulating or provoking. The ideas were especially conceptual and really only existed in the strictest sense of the term in the artists’ heads. Perhaps we should move away from the model of art as spectacle for events such as Nuit Blanche and concentrate on an art as a means to educate and to stimulate a dialogue between citizens. Engaging schools, youth and community centers may be one avenue to explore, which might bring the notion of art being more accessible to the public.

            Well the busy fall art season is upon us in Toronto and one of the many events is the Queen West Art Crawl that took over Queen St. from Bathurst to the Parkdale Village the weekend of September 18th. Started many years ago this occasion was made possible through the Parkdale/Liberty Economic Development Corp. and the WQW BIA.

            The bulk of traffic however was in Trinity-Bellwoods Park where well over 50 participants were showcased in tents winding throughout the park. However, I found these “artisans” to be leaning towards craft, with a heavy emphasis on jewelry design. Don’t get me wrong, there is a place for crafts, but not really at an established annual “art” event. Quantity does not always make for quality, and stuffing the park to overflowing was a bit like sensory overload. However, there were a few notable exceptions worth mentioning. Talking about jewelry however, Bead For Life (www.beadforlife.org) is an organization that enables poverty-stricken women in Africa to sustain worldwide connectivity through the sale of their bead products. These beads are fashioned from recycled paper and then varnished and strung to make fashionable pieces. Two other notable stops along the way featured work that stood out in both technique and execution. The Intaglio prints of Alex Coley (www.alexcoley.ca) dealt with “states of mind” and were at once jarring and beautiful in their spiritual associations. Thomas Hendry served up conte on Japanese Paper figural studies that displayed a mastery of modeling and shading of the human form in original poses.

            Eschewing the park for another area of the “Crawl”, I headed to the Gladstone for a more intimate experience with the art and artists displayed on the second floor of the hotel. “Do It At The Gladstone” is an annual group show that highlights the work of artists in separate rooms on the second floor.  Not conceptual in nature but more perceptual, the artists’ showed an eclectic array of painting, drawing and photography. A lot of it was what I would term as “easy art” derivative in nature and seen before, but there were a few exceptions.

Meat

Meat

 Image courtesy of Katharine Mulherin

             Bev Hogue (www.beluxe.com) is always a standout with her quirky, blue-toned acrylic paintings of young, fashionable and vivacious females. Her use of perspective and sometimes 3D, instill her work with fun and whimsy. Cybele Young gave us a treat throughout the hallways with her deep shadow boxes of miniature sculptures. The executed vignettes were fashioned from Japanese paper, and these tiny treasures utilized juxtapositions in their portrayal. Imagine a chair hanging from a fishing rod or a shoe on a necklace…just a sampling of her imagination. Kelly Grace (www.kellective.com) utilizes mixed media such as photo-transfer with acrylic to show us “happy” images based on a carnival theme and her numerous wanderings. Overall, not a bad showing at the Gladstone but perhaps next year the curator may want to concentrate on a theme or perhaps consider installation as part of the show to add some variety. 

Sweet Tart

Sweet Tart

            In addition, the numerous galleries along the Queen W. strip between the park and the Gladstone were part of the weekend event. Balint Zsako, represented by Katharine Mulherin Contemporary Art Projects, stunned the viewer with his “Old Master Painting”. These were collages of, you guessed it, 18th century images rendered in exacting detail. Just to mix it up a little, Zsako would throw in a haunch of meat hanging from the headdress of a male. Think Francis Bacon meets Gainsborough…intriguing and certainly alarming.

 

 

 

 

Image courtesy of Bev Hogue

 

Retail shopping has never been as intriguing as it is now at the Massive Sale :YYZ Mall. Conceptualized by Jennifer Marman and Daniel Borins this foray into the capitalistic world of shopping twists the consumers view of purchasing into unexpected means. The moniker “Marmco” International” offers up 430 square feet of retail fantasy.

http://www.marmco.com/

http://www.yyzartistsoutlet.org/

 

Configured as stalls within the gallery (think chic flea market), the artistic retailers poke fun and inject humour into the entire notion of shopping as the modern consumer realizes. Gone is the notion of the “Wall Mart” greeter who cheerfully greets you at the door. In its stead stands a forlorn silent clown slapping a welcome carpet at your feet and scrawling messages to the consumer on wall hung newsprint paper. Upon entering the actual retail space you are greeted with four small businesses each catering to a different thematic entity. Marman and Borins have acted as business consultants to the artists who were approached with the idea of opening their own store and what that would entail. The whole concept was born out a summer residency at YYZ in which Marman and Borins partook.

 

Each artist definitely brings their own brand of style, sensibility and acumen to the table. The four retailers not only compete in an understated manner with us, but draw the shopper to not only purchase but also become part of the experience themselves. This in turn subverts the passive and at times mind-numbing act of shopping into an occurrence that is both engaging and thought provoking.

 

Perhaps the most eccentric and engrossing of the four is Ken Ogawa and his store “156 Ehohe” which blends seamlessly a money exchange, perfumery and mini-golf. Resplendent in a white nurses dress and a string of pearls Ogawa invites the consumer, on the lure of winning a prize, to try their hand at putting the a golf ball through the ubiquitous last hole windmill. Failure at a prize means the shopper would still be able to purchase a vial of perfume blended by the artist or a banknote stating the denomination of 4.7. This twist in the production of a currency that does not actually exist in our society at once confounds our pre-conceived notions of monetary exchange.

 

Aleks Ognjanovich of “War and Leisure” (a hawker if ever I did hear one) loudly and aggressively beckons with subtle insult, to partake of his line of men’s “leisurewear” which may be ideally suited to the trendy playboy type. Not for the faint of heart, blood stained t-shirts greet you upon arrival or perhaps a custom made track suit, headband or baby blanket…your’s for the buying. Ognjanovich’s style of selling may be in your face but is a welcome turn from the stock passive line of “may I help you” proffered by most clerks today.

 

Things take a comedic turn as you step into the studio of Ulysses Castellanos,otherwise known as “Chirajito” clown painter. Here the tired shopper may sit and have their portrait painted by the costumed artist or perhaps purchase a vintage vinyl record. Simple, sweeping ink filled brushstrokes are transformed into your own likeness as a clown, imbuing the portrait with your own unique and distinctive character . Forget the quick photo based portrait booths found in some malls but instead come away with a resemblance that will not fit in your wallet. Bravo!

 

The Shinn family and “Shinndustry International” rounds out the shopping experience with their detailed and somewhat serious look at fonts and typography. The head of the family, Nick, is by trade a graphic designer and typographer and his wife and children lend their hands to the business as well. Projected onto the near wall are fonts of varying degree chosen by the client themselves, with guidance from the expert, and which can be purchased on a CD. The adjacent shelves also carry an assortment of font-based products from clothing to books. Personal service here is emphasized and attention to detail turns this store into not only a retail service but also harkens back to a time when customer service was taken seriously.

 

Marman and Borins take an everyday modern occurrence like shopping and transform it into not only a statement about the current banality of retail but also into a statement of economics. If our economy is to grow and prosper we must invent ways and means to break out of our current stagnation and imagine a community of like-minded individuals who share in a collective manner of re-configuring the norm. YYZ Mall may just do that as a model for future consideration in a time when the deluded consumer needs it the most.

 

 

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