Monday, October 20, 2008

Objectoronto 08: expect the same and be surprised when it isn't

Now in its fourth year, this unique event highlights designer-makers who create work reflecting the dynamic synthesis of craft, art and design. At OBJECToronto the public has an opportunity to meet artists and designers, discover galleries and view or purchase works that are a growing and vital component of the Toronto art and design community.

the missing background: the work of Arounna Khounnoraj

The names may be familiar and what we know about some of them gives us the confidence to be assured of the quality and skill with which these artists produce the work. There are surprises in store none the less, case in point Arounna Khounnoraj of Bookhou Design. Over the last few years of seeing her work at the One of Kind Show, Studio North section of the Interior Design Show and the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition and various shops around town I have seen her simple screen printed textiles turned into functional decorative objects and fashion accessories often.

Her stylized images of the natural world printed on lines and silks have now come off the surface. With crocheted lines, stuffed printed and stitched shapes, bits and pieces, free floating and suspended in shadowboxes this new work is pure decoration. Embellishments deprived of ground and devoid of a function that is the traditional role of craft this new body of work is complex yet simple. It is a pure visual experience contradicting the hand regulated to textile production and product. It is simply beautiful and that is its invitation to the viewer while having an inescapable fragility that needs to be isolated and untouched in order to survive. It refuses to be codified and yet is finely crafted work that is situated in the craft category because of the history of its maker.
Green Tuttle pictured here has been purchased by the City of Ottawa. (image source Bookhou website journal )

Arounna Khounnoraj received her education at the Ontario College of Art, a B.F.A from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and received her M.F.A from the University of Waterloo. She is dividing her time between her textile designs and her artwork where she explores sculpture, drawing and printmaking. Both her artwork and textile designs explore pattern and image.

when is a brooch a brooch: textile jewellery?

Suzanne Carlson, Self Powered Vacations 2008, metal settings, embroider textiles, ribbon. (image source Object 08 catalogue)

The regulatory aspect of category is also challenged in the work of other artist presented in this exhibition. Suzanne Carlson, and Lily Yung presented by the McClure and Egan Contemporary Jewellery and Objects make jewellery in non precious materials with aspects of construction coming from and or using textile and fibre or using aspects of the production associated with these materials as a base of their practice. Carlson’s brooches embroidered textiles in metal settings and Lily Yung’s die cut felt (and other materials)

lily Yung, Blue Boa, 2006 100% wool industrial felt, die cut, hand assembled, 10 x 10 x 80 cm (image provided by Object 08 )

Another gallery featuring a jeweller working with textiles was Galerie Noel Guyomarc’h from Montreal

Anne Fauteux: visual artist, jeweller,

Anne Fauteux has been making jewellery since 1982 and her work has been shown in over 70 contemporary jewellery exhibitions in European and North American galleries and museums. After a Bachelor in Fine Arts and Costume Design she studied jewellery in Italy and worked for established jewellers before opening her own studio in 1986. She taught jewellery for ten years in Montreal and in Nunavut. Anne is now working both in Montreal and Toronto. Her jewellery work is currently shown in Montreal, Oakville and Ottawa. From 1990 to 1999 she worked on a series of wearable metaphorical tools entitled “Bijoux—Outils”. Since 1999, her jewellery work — combining metal and textiles — has derived from, her interactive visual arts projects under the “BOLM” label (acronym for “Bureau des objets lyriques migrateurs”.)

Artist Statement

From the study of traditional techniques through the discovery of jewellery as an expressive and poetic art form, to the rejection of materialistic and narcissistic values, I’m celebrating 25 years of jewellery making.The mobility in all aspects of my life had me researching many trades and creating too many objects. Nowadays, I feel like minimizing my material production by, instead, creating democratic “service” events recycling objects that already exist. This is one of the main motivations that started my “Bureau des objets lyriques migrateurs” (BOLM).
Since 1999, my jewellery work has derived from BOLM interactive projects in the form of non-precious reminders made mainly of textiles and recycled materials

Wool Appetizers

Independent artist that where showing in the Gladstone included Peggy Mersereau who is currently working with reclaimed wool and wool blend sweaters which she shrinks / felts then cuts. Some are stacks in ways reminiscent of classic cheese on crackers with an olive on top to create brooches, others rolled in pinwheel or jelly roll fashion. Sliced, diced or left hole, strung on thread or wrapped wire with the addition of felted beads or balls, they become flexible neck pieces in colours ranging from earth tones to Jewel tones.

She refers to this work as wearable sculpture and like Lily Yung’s neck pieces these are elaborate and simple at the same time. Mersereau’s reprocessing of machine manufactured knitted fabrics and Yung's use of industrial production processing (die cut) represent two ends of rethinking industrial mass production, using waist and recycling. Yung uses all area of her die cut sheets, small circles cut out from larger design shapes are stitched together in long strands like pearls or beads, the larger pieces operated as designed. The off cuts or rather cut outs from knitted garments that leave the collar, seams and edges (she calls sweater bones) from Mersereau’s “Cycle “ installation 2006 became the source material for the “wool appetizers”. These pieces differ from her other felted wool and crochet Nylon monofilament jewellery pieces in that the are made from recycled fabric, but like her other fibre jewellery/ wearable sculpture work they are whimsical, luxurious and rather intriguing. The wearer will need verbal skill as these are definitely conversation starters.

“Converting the soft, supple knit fabric into a material that can stand on its own is challenging and the results are always surprising” Peggy Mersereau from the Object08 catalogue.
Exhibitions in in conjunction with Objectoronto 08 can be seen at the following sites:
David Kaye Gallery 1092 Queen Street W (at Dovercourt) Toronto,

Nora Deacon Patterned: recent works in paper October 16 - November 16, 2008

Nora Decon "a wedding a garden party or afternoon tea" 2008 pattern tissue, black walnut dye, burn out, 11 X 8.5 inches

Valerie Knapp Safekeeping: recent work in textiles & paper, October 16 - November 16, 2008

Valerie Knapp, Breathe Deep, 2008, relief print, Hand embroidery, cotton thread and pigment on vintage handkerchief, 15.75 X 15.75
New work from Sarah Reynolds Urban Wilderness

at Distill inc. 55 Mill Street #47, Toronto ( in the heart of the Distillery District south of King Street East off of Parliament Street

This collection of soft scultures speaks of urbanization and its effects on wildlife/ nature and its silent struggles to adapt to a new and ever changing enviroment.

Jack Rabbit, 2008 soft sculpture; fibre 11 X 11 X17 inches , photo by artist


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