Archive for the ‘public art’ Category

A walk along Queens Quay West

My reason for walking along the waterfront was to see the 2019 version of ‘Ice Breakers’.  This year there are five art installations spaced out along Queens Quay.  The white PVC tubes you see in the photo below is half of one of these installations, Stellar Spectra.  The other half is identical and was behind me when I took this picture.  They are placed at each end of the little bridge.  These hollow structures were designed by Torontonians Rob Shostak and Dionisios Vriniotis.  There is room for a person or two inside and once inside, look up!  The tops of the tubes are covered with coloured acrylic.

Queens Quay west, street, pedestrians, high rises in the background, a white art installation made of vertical tubes

below: I was trying to think of a way to describe the bridge that sits on, but a picture paints a thousand words so here’s the bridge from a different angle.  You can also see the two white structures on the bridge in the background.  In addition, there are green signs on poles that once floated in the water but are now frozen in the ice.  The signs, like protest signs, are ‘Chroma Key Protest’ by Andrew Edmundson of Solve Architects.

Chroma Key Protest, green signs on poles floating in the water beside Queens Quay, from the back, backlit, road in the background and Lake Ontario in the distance

below: Twenty five green signs

CN Tower in front, waterfront condos in the middle and Chroma Key Protest in the basin of water in the foreground

below: A pair of long-tailed ducks enjoy an small bit of open water.

two long tailed ducks swimming in a patch of open water onLake Ontario, ice on lake in the background, two tires at the end of a dock are also in the picture

below: Another installation, ‘Tweeta Gate’ over a very icy path.   There were lots of barriers along the waterfront along with signs that warned of “no winter maintenance”.  It was very slippery.   These 10 arches are supposed to lead you to the waterfront but I didn’t see anyone brave enough to walk there.  ‘Ice Breakers’ remain until the 24th of February so there is still time for the ice to melt (it will, won’t it?) Each arch represents a different architectural style.   It was designed by Eleni Papadimitriou and Stefanos Ziras.

yellow arches over an ice covered path, art installation ice breakers, on Toronto waterfront,

below: ‘Connectors’ is an entanglement of four orange tubes made of drainage pipes – if you speak into one end, which of the other 7 ends is the sound going to come out of?  This was designed by Alexandra Griess and Jorel Heid from Hamburg Germany.

Connectors, a large art installation consisting of bright orange plastic tubes are jumbled up together

Connectors, a large art installation consisting of bright orange plastic tubes are jumbled up together

below: At H2O beach

a man is sitting on a red muskoka chair, under a large plastic yellow umbrella on H 2 O beach in toronto, in the winter, some snow on the ground. A large golden lab dog has his forepaws on the man's lap

below: The beach was fairly quiet.  It was also covered with a layer of ice.

view of H 2 O beach in toronto from the west, looking towards the Toronto skyline, winter, no leaves on the treees and some snow on the ground

below: More ice surrounds the base of ‘Tripix’, a structure that was designed by a group of Ryerson students.

art installation in H2O park, Tripix, a three legged arch struture in red and chrome

below: The panels that cover its surface are reflective and the angles in which they are arranged make for a kaleidoscopic effect when viewed from inside the installation.

view from inside Tripix

below: And yes, another CN Tower picture

the CN Tower in background, and a leg of art installation in H2O park, Tripix, a three legged arch struture in red and chrome

below: It’s not part of the ‘Ice Breakers’ series, but three large photographs are on display at Ontario Square.  These are the series “Our Desires Fail Us” by Sean Martindale and J.P. King.  They are mirrored images of Toronto garbage (mirrored in that one side of the photo is a mirror image of the other).

a large photo mounted on an exterior wall in Ontario Square, part of a series called Our Desires Fail Us by Sean Martindale and JP King. shows a pile of garbage

below: A close up look at one of the other photos  [art is garbage vs garbage is art? – sorry, couldn’t help myself]

detail of part of a large photo mounted on an exterior wall in Ontario Square, part of a series called Our Desires Fail Us by Sean Martindale and JP King. shows a pile of garbage

below: Recently, the off-ramp from the Gardiner Expressway that circled onto York Street was removed.  The bents that held the road up remain in what is now a park at the corner of York Street and Queens Quay.

four or five concrete bents stand in a vacant piece of land tht is being made into a park. the bents once held up an off ramp of the Gardiner Expressway

As I write this post, I keep wondering if I missed something because of the ice.  I might have to make a second trip if the temperatures warm up enough before the 24th of February.  In the meantime, don’t slip!

broken chunks of ice on Lake Ontario

Once again, the Distillery District is lighting up the cold winter nights with their LightFest featuring a number of lit art installations.

 

blue lights shine against an exterior brick wall of a restaurant, window - looking in the window you can seen people sitting at a table. A large art installation of a woman's face outline in blue light hovers above the window.

below: The LOVE locks have been enhanced with a cursive band of colour.

a band of blue light writes the word love in cursive, laid on top of a LOVE sign that is covered with locks.

below: There is no fire breathing dragon like there was last year, but there is an enormous 35 foot polar bear standing outside Balzacs.  Apparently it gets lit up later in the evening (or any other time except when I was there?).   He is made from the hoods of old cars and is the creation of Don Kennel.

a sculpture of a very large polar bear standing on its hind feet, in white, with black claws and facial features, distillery district, evening

below: Well, duh, of course it is!  LOL.  There is no context to this picture so you can’t tell that it’s like a large hockey puck, about 4 feet (about 1.2 metres) high if my memory is correct (i.e. it could be a bit higher).

a round white light with words written on it in capital letters, black, Centre of the Universe

below: Some of the installations are just for show (like the rods here) but some are more interactive.  For instance, the ring of orange and yellow lights that you can see in the background are large enough for people to walk through.

below: Another interactive installation is this little stained glass and acrylic enclosure by Taylor Dean Harrison.  When you are inside it looks like you are surrounded by stained glass.  Or, as I overheard one boy call it, lizard skin.

light art installation at Distillery District, like a small tent or hut that you can go inside, tiny triangle of colour, by artist Taylor Dean Harrison, looks like stained glass

artwork featuring tiny triangle of colour, by artist Taylor Dean Harrison, looks like stained glass. Close up detail shot

As usual, this is only a taste of what it there.  You can explore the works of 30 different artists at the Distillery District until the 3rd of March.

 

From autumn to winter, from old to new.

close up of the center of a pink flower

below: It’s a sculpture!  It’s a piece of playground equipment!  Two very large bronze hands and a red rope lattice between the hands has been installed in Berczy Park.  It was designed by Toronto artist Luis Jacob.  In the background is the “dog fountain”.

sculpture of two black hands, very large, reaching out of the ground, with red rope "cat's cradle" between them, fountain in the background, Berczy park in Toronto

below: Berczy Park from the other side. The water in the fountain has been turned off for the winter. It’s a bit too cold to hang out in the park these days but the dogs are still patiently and quietly waiting beside the fountain.

Berczy park, fountain with statues of dogs, no water because winter

below: The lower part of “Flatiron Mural” by Derek Besant, 1980 on the west wall of the Gooderham building, overlooking Berczy Park .

flatiron mural by Derek Besant on the east wall of the Gooderham Building, fake blue and white side of the building

below: On the other side of the Gooderham building, near Church Street, the old-style lamps have been decorated for the Christmas season.

Christmas decorations, pine branches and red plant pots, on a lamp post in front of the Gooderham building in Toronto, red brick flatiron type building

below: More signs that maybe Christmas is coming… eventually.  Christmas decorations are now available at most grocery stores.

part of an evergreen Christmas decoration with red and gold spray painted pieces

It’s weird to be getting into the Christmas spirit already… in mid-November when there are still a few leaves on the trees…

below: And lots of leaves on the ground.

wet yellow leaves on the ground in a small puddle, reflection of tree branches in the puddle

below: St. James Cathedral from the park (sculpture garden) across the street. Autumn, and the views are no longer blocked by greenery.

St. James Cathedral and steeple from across the street, shows whole of front of the church, in early winter so the trees in front have no leaves

below: In that sculpture garden there’s a new installation.

a white metal sculpture of a treble clef and a line of music, with yellow and red lights, in a garden, in a city, with brick buildings behind

below: “Pigro” by Tony Romano.   Pigro is Italian for “lazy”, as in lazily reclining in the park. By the looks of it, there are lights on the sculpture so it might be interesting to check this out after dark (i.e. after 4 p.m.!)

 a white metal sculpture of a treble clef and a line of music, with yellow and red lights, in a garden, in a city with a brick wall behind it

part of a white metal sculpture of a treble clef and a line of music, with yellow and red lights, in a garden, in a city with a brick wall behind it

below: Around the corner, on King Street, the omnipresent construction/renovation.

scaffolding on the front a building on King street, steeple of St. James Cathedral in the background

below: The Tom Jones restaurant still stands alone although construction has been creeping closer and closer.

Tom Jones restaurant, three storey white brick building, stand alone, parking lot on one side, street on the other, dark wood door and door frame,

below: The pale purple wall with the mural and Henry Fielding quote are also still in place although the paint is peeling badly in some spots.  (this is the east side of the Tom Jones restaurant building).

pale purple wall with mural and text, parkin lot attendent boothin front of wall as well as one parked car

below: The backs of the buildings on King Street that are being redeveloped.

below: Transitions, old, new, and in between.

back of three old brick buildings, scaffolding on the building to the right, a new glass building behind

below: And the last look at the construction, sort of… you can just see bits of the reddish scaffolding across King Street

glass and metal covering over a walkway outside between two buildings

pink and green cabbage like plant

Art on construction hoardings.

below: Looking northwest at the intersection of Yonge Street and St. Clair Avenue West where seven large collages by Daniel Mazzone dominate the corner.

intersection of St. Clair and Yonge, looking northwest, construction hoardings, people crossing the street

below: On the right, James Dean.  It’s difficult to see in this photo, but there are some pink letters on either side of his face.  On the left it says “Dream as if you’ll live forever”.  On the right is says, “Live as if you will die today”.

a man stands at a bus shelter on St. Clair Ave, two large paintings on construction hoardings, by Daniel Mazzone, are behind him

below: She repeats.  This woman is at the two ends.  As far as I can tell, the only difference is the colour of the pattern in the background.   On St. Clair it’s purple while it’s red on Yonge.   Superman is on her forehead and, in fact, most of the pieces that are used in this artwork are from Superman comics.

large maural by Daniel Mazzone, on construction hoardings, a woman's face and head, created by a collage of smaller images

below: Charlie Chaplin above the bus shelter.  Many of the images used to create the face are also pictures of Charlie Chaplin.

a man sits on a bench at a bus shelter on St. Clair, with a large collage picture of Charlie Chaplin behind him, created by Daniel Mazzone

below: Love sees no colour, with Michael Jackson above Yonge Street.

two murals by Daniel Mazzone, one of which is Michael Jackson in his red Thriller jacket, and the other is a woman in a cap blowing dandelions white puffy stuff, other flowers and butterflies too along with the words Love Sees No Colours.

below: “Looking for Beauty” by Daniel Mazzone.  Does she see any?  There are a few Supermans here too, especially in her face.  “Splow” is written in green on her neck.

mural above the sidewalk, as people walk by, Yonge Street street sign, traffic,

Edwards Gardens

lots of flowers and plants in a garden around the base of a tree, a stone sculpture sits among the flowers, a woman is removing weeds from the garden, at Edwards Gardens

ZimSculpt is the name of the exhibit now on at Edwards Gardens.   Placed around the gardens are a large number of stone sculptures by Zimbabwean artists.  There are also small pieces on display inside a tent-like structure near the parking lot.   All items are for sale along with some baskets and jewellery.  Here are some of the sculptures:

below: Giving Advice by Boet Nyariri, carved in springstone

sculpture of two women (mother and daughter?), one slightly behind the other, with hand on other's shoulder,

below: (after the garden was watered!), Mother and Son, by Joe Mutasa, carved in springstone.

black stone sculpture of a mother holding her son, in a garden, with pink, red and orange flowers around the bottom of the sculpture

below:  Nesting Cormorant, by Lucknos Chingwaro, springstone

tall black sculpture at Edwards Gardens

below: Windy Day by David White, opal stone,

sculpture of a woman's head, eyes closed, with lots of rings of lighter stone hair, title is Windy Day

below: Evolving, by Edmore Sango, opal stone.

tall stone sculpture among plants in a garden

below: Shoal, by John Gutsa, springstone

a sculpture titled Shoal, 4 striped fish, one on top of the other, sculpture with flowers in front and greenery behind, Edwards Gardens

below: Free Flow, by Stuart Chapenga, springstone

black stone sculpture called free flow in Edwards Gardens.

head of a bird carved in black and white stone

close up photo of two yellow flowers with dark brown centers, from the side

close up photo of a monarch butterfly on a pink flower

ZimSculpt lasts until the end of September.

woman in a bright pink dress, holding a bouquet of flowers poses beside a brain artwork at Nathan Phillips Square while a man in a blue suit takes her picture

The brains are back!  Close to 50 brains decorated by different artists can be seen in about a dozen locations around this city throughout the summer.

This year they are 2-dimensional, not three.  They are much flatter.  Above, making an interesting companion to the fabulous pink dress is “Enigmatic Glitter” by Donald and Elaine Rafelman Creative Arts Studio at Baycrest.  When we picture art together it lights a spark and evokes a glitter of hope.

 

below: At Nathan Phillips Square, from left to right:  “Pop Art” by Mary Ann Grainger,  “No Brainer #Repainthistory” by Andrea Bolley,  “Neon Future” by Steve Aoki, “Get Me Out! by Hate Copy (aka Maria Qamar), “Mental Vacation ” by Birdo, and “My Mind is Swimming” by Gina Godfrey.

two young woman are standing beside a row of artwork, brain shaped, each in a plexiglass container, standing in the water of the fountain at Nathan Phillips Square, 7 brain sculptures, all decorated by different artists, part of the brain project in support of Baycrest

 

below:  “Power in Growth” by Amy Jeffreys in the Distillery District.  Persevere and grow.  Every human is capable of harnessing strength from their weaknesses.  In this piece, the tangled roots represent the inner struggles and complexity of one’s thoughts.

off-white artwork in the shape of a brain, covered with cords and leaves, or maybe leaves and stems

below: “Memory” by Colin Nun at Nathan Phillips Square.  “This type-based piece represents disconnect, dead ends, and memories lost to brain disease.  It is inspired by the loss of the artist’s grandfather to Alzheimer’s disease and was created as a tribute to his memory.  Take a close look to find a hidden word in the piece.  What do you see?”

2 dimensional brain, artwork, designed with orange and white lines, beside water at Nathan Phillips Square, 3D toronto sign behind it

below: “The Mind’s Eye” by Dave Bagley at Yonge and St. Clair.  Concentric rings of birds, fish, and diamonds radiate from the center.

a brain from the brain project at yonge and St. Clair, in a plexiglass display case, minds eye by David Bagley

below: Close up of the above, clearly showing the two seahorses in the center as well as the repeating yellow fish and blue birds.   According to the artist, “I believe all of humankind share an organic Wi-fi that connects everyone, all we need to do is turn on the switch… is yours on?”

close up of painting on brain shaped sculpture, called Mids Eye by David Bagley, circular pattern of fish and seahorses

below: “Puzzled” by Harm Huibers on Grist Mill Lane in the Distillery District.  The design of the brain is complex and intricate; when it’s complete, it’s a beautiful puzzle.  Diseases like Alzheimers take pieces out of the puzzle.

a plain brown puzzle in the shape of a brain, eight of the pieces are either missing or only partially in place

The project is sponsored by Yogen Fruz and Pinkberry and is in support of the Baycrest Foundation.  Baycrest, a leader in research into brain health and aging, is celebrating their 100th anniversary this year.

You can find pictures of all of the 2018 brains online at the brainproject.ca as well as descriptions of the brains and the artists behind their creation.

There is no theme to this blog post.  It’s just a description of some of the things that I saw as I walked down Bathurst Street the other day after taking the 512 streetcar to St. Clair West station.   In a lot of ways its like other busy Toronto streets, some houses, a few corner stores, and an alley or two along the way.   A little bit of architecture and a little bit of history round out the story.

At St. Clair West and Bathurst, the northeast corner remains vacant. About four or five years ago there was a gas station and car wash on this corner.  St. Clair West subway station is just to the east, just beyond the trees on the right hand side.

northeast corner of Bathurst and St. Clair West, vacant lot, St. Michaels College in the background as well as a couple of highrise condos.

below: I went looking for an old photo of this corner and this is what I found.  It’s from 1924.  If the streetcar’s destination is Caledonia, then it is going westward.  In 1924, St. Clair was the northern edge of the city and very little development had occurred here.  It is interesting to note that the streetcar tracks came first, then the development.   In addition, I’d love to be able to read the sign about dogs but the resolution of the photo is not good enough.  An ad?  A sign saying no dogs allowed?  Or something else?

vintage black and white photo from 1924 of a streetcar on the St. Clair line stopped at Bathurst to pick up passengers.

below: Of course, no vacant lot remains that way for long.   At the moment, three 30 storey towers joined with a 6 or 7 storey podium has been proposed for the site but it is still in the re-zoning and planning stages.  The light brown building to the left is St. Michael’s College School (boys school).

blue and white city of Toronto development notice sign on a small hill, by some trees, in front of a vacant lot. Highrises in the background

below: New development on the southeast corner of this intersection is almost complete. People have moved into the units above while the finishing touches are put on the lower retail floors. Developments like this are all over the city. Developments that look great (maybe?) on paper but are lackluster and banal at street level.

street level of a new glass and steel building, empty retail space available for lease, just finishing being built

below: As I walked south on Bathurst, this mural caught my eye.

mural in a laneway, painting of many trees with red and yellow sky, dark brown earth, and a few small black figures, some words beside it

Words written beside the mural:
“Long before concrete and steel
Punctuated the landscape
The land was pure and natural
This mural acknowledges and honors 13 trees and 21 medicinal plants that have thrived here since time immemorial.”

The mural was funded by Toronto’s Start program (street art) and Na’Ma’Res Sagatay, a residence for indigenous men that is nearby.

close up of mural, large trees with wavy red and yellow sky, small black figures standing under the trees

I will admit that the main reason that I was walking in this area is because I wanted to check out the new public artwork that I’ve read about at Bathurst and Vaughan.  It is “Three Points Where Two Lines Meet” by Christian Giroux and Daniel Young and apparently there is some controversy about it.

below: For those who don’t know that intersection, it is V-shaped.  This photo shows the approach to  the intersection from the north, on Vaughan.  I took this photo because my first reaction to the scene was “Ugly.  Ugly is what Toronto does”.  From this angle the sculpture gets lost in the visual noise.

sidewalk, lined by tall hydro utility poles, wood, road, some buildings, approaching the intersection of Bathurst and Vaughan

Cities have rules and regulations for public art. It needs to be weatherproof and graffiti-proof.  It can’t block the view of drivers and pedestrians.  No sharp edges or structures that people might hurt themselves on – note the two black poles are to prevent people from hitting their heads.

A woman walks past Three Points Where Two Lines meet

From Giroux & Young’s website:  “Taking its form from the orphaned triangular site on which it sits, this artwork produces a new urban room by combining a multicoloured truss structure, the triangular plot of wild grasses it encloses, and an encircling sidewalk thats acts as a podium and plinth. Located between the converging energies of uptown and downtown, the structure densifies an intersection already clotted with utilities and challenges established forms of urbanism and spatial representation in Toronto.”  Think of that what you will.  While you’re thinking, you can check the website for more photos and information.

Three Points Where Tao Lines meet, a public art sculpture in bright colours, metal grid like construction cranes, by Daniel Young and Christian Giroux at the intersection of Bathurst and Vaughan.

below: An interesting (unique?) roofline on what turns out to be The Occult Shop.  I made one mistake – I neglected to cross the street to go inside and find out just what one can buy here.

brick building with a large rounded roofline, the bulding is a semi, one half has doors and windows covered with white from the inside, the other is the occult shop

below: These people can still be seen in the space above the doorway at 1358 Bathurst.

the space above a doorway at number 1358 Bathurst is painted with pictures of people (head and shoulders) in shades of brown

Continuing south on Bathurst, as you go downhill towards Davenport Road, there is a retaining wall beside the sidewalk on the west side.  This wall was painted back in October 2013.  The city paid $23,000 to two Brooklyn NY street artists (Patrick McNeil and Patrick Miller, together known as Faile) who designed the mural and in turn paid other artists to paint it.

The mural is quite long and I only have a few pictures of bits and pieces of it.

mural, large blue and white owl, with words in large letters that say no change my heart

mural, large painting of a blond boy sleeping, head on pillow, head and shoulders only

mural, by faile, orange car, woman driver, the word vanity written on the side of the car

below: Apparently Davenport Road is considered to be one of Toronto’s oldest roads.  It follows the base of a ridge and provided a route between the Humber River in the west and the Don River in the east.

toronto historical society plaque for Davenport Road, 1995, description of the history of Davenport Road

below: There is a park on the northwest corner of Bathurst and Davenport, The Tollkeeper’s Park.  The old house, the Tollkeeper’s Cottage, is now a museum run by The Community History Project.  It is open on Saturday afternoons (and some Sundays during the summer)

The Tollkeeper's Park, sign, green space, trees, and an old small wood frame house, now a museum,

below: And across the road is Tollkeeper’s Lane.  There are chairs everywhere in this city not usually as comfy looking as these.

two comfy chairs in an alley withtheir backs agains a grey garage door

below: An old Comet parked in the alley

a yellowish beige Comet car, old, parked behind a house in a lane

below: Tomatoes and other vegetables growing in a front yard.

small front yard packed full of vegetable plants looking very green and healthy

below: A hand, part of an Elicser mural.  This mural, which is on both sides of the railway underpass just north of Dupont, is still there.  Photos can be seen in a blog post from Nov 2014 (Yikes!  Have I been blogging that long?!).

part of a mural, a blue hand horizontal on a wall with some weeds growing in front of it

There are a few remnants of a more industrial past in the area near the railway tracks.

a window consisting of 18 panes of glass, 6 across and 3 down, some have texture and some are clear. the clear ones are reflecting the blue sky and clouds.

old wood door, once painted green but the paint is peeling

below: Another door –  I doubt that it’s open now, or that it ever will be again.

back door of an empty house, window boarded over, door with board nailed across it, open sign in the window, also a sign that says beware of dog

below: These windows, and the house too, probably won’t be here much longer either.

green trim around roof and windows of an old house

below: A very standard row of semi-divided houses; a common sight.  Hundreds (thousands?) of these were built around the city.

a semi divided house on bathurst street, two storey, bay windows on upper floor, porches, stairs to front door

below: And a not so usual semi.

a semi divided house on bathurst street where one side has been rebuilt into a taller square structure

below: A touch of art deco.

two doors side by side with art deco motifs, on a low rise brick building

below: Slight larger houses, with turrets even!  (or is there another name for this architectural element?)

a semi divided house on bathurst street both with small turrets above upper floor bay windows

below: This is part of Coopers Hawk Lane which is just south of Dupont.

buildings and garages in a lane, Coopers Hawk Lane, garage doors have street art on them.

painting of a wooden box with papers in it, pictures of people on the papers

below: In another nearby alley …. a pink cat eating ice cream

two doors in an alley, painted, one in colours, the other in black and white

below: And a gate with a frame, and the laundry beyond.

a chainlink fence and gate in a back yard, laundry hanging out to dry in the yard, brick houses, some green grass

red octagonal stop sign with a sticker on it that says take a breath