Archive for the ‘public art’ Category

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

 

subtitle: Finding treasures

Hidden behind ivy, on a building at Ryerson University, are three relief sculptures of men in athletic poses.   There’s also a line of trees beside the building that they are on.  No wonder I’ve missed them on previous walks down Nelson Mandela Way.  Today the light was shining on them just the right way .

below: Javelin thrower.  Does his left arm look a little awkward?

on a wall, covered with ivy plant (early spring so no leaves), relief sculpture of a man from the side, about to throw a javelin,

below:  Man with a ball, and covered with ivy vines which was designed in 1962 by Elizabeth Wyn Wood (They are all the work of the same artist?)

on a wall, covered with ivy plant (early spring so no leaves), relief sculpture of a man with legs spread apart, with a ball on his shoulder, arms bent upwards at elbow

below: Lifting weights.

on a wall, covered with ivy plant (early spring so no leaves), relief sculpture of a man with legs spread apart, and holding barbells across his shoulders, weight lifter,

Elizabeth Winifred Wood (1903-1966), also known as Elizabeth Wyn Wood, was born in Orillia.  She graduated from OCA (Ontario College of Art) in 1925.  Throughout the 1940’s and 1950’s, many new buildings in Toronto were decorated with relief sculptures on their exterior walls.  Although many of these buildings have since been demolished, you can still see some sculptures as you walk around downtown.   By the time that Wyn Wood designed these (and other) sculptures for Ryerson in the early 1960’s, the use of relief sculptures in this context was fading.

Yesterday started damp and grey but then flipped to bright and sunny.   Almost spring-like even.   So off to the beach I went.

mural of people enjoying the beach, surfing, jogging on the boardwalk.

Well, not that kind of beach.   It does look warm though doesn’t it?  Yesterday it was more like this:

below: Looking towards Lake Ontario from Kew Beach Ave.  Lots of trees and lots of what looks like grass but is more like mud.   Squish, squish as I walked gingerly across the water logged ground, trying to keep my shoes clean.

large park beside Lake Ontario at Kew Beach, Toronto, large mature leafless trees, spring, grass is brownish colour, some people in the distance, walking on the boardwalk,

The goal?  To check out this year’s warming stations art installations.  Lots of others had the same idea as it turns out.   Some kids, some dogs, but that’s okay.

below: Interacting with “Nest” both on the outside…..

a woman model poses beside an art installation on the beach

below: …. and on the inside. Like all the other warming stations, this one is built around a lifeguard station.

kids climbing on a lifeguard station that is inside Nest, an art installation that is open to the sky at the top of the lifeguard chair.

below: The structure is covered with netting-like fabric on the inside and webbing on the outside.  It was designed by a team from Ryerson University – Adrian Chiu, Arnel Espanol, and Henry Mai.

an older couple examine the fabric that is on the inside of Nest, a warming station at Kew Beach

below: A sign of the times, a pink pussy hat makes its appearance as “Pussy Hut”

large oversized pink pussy hat as an art installation on the beach

two little girls inside the large pink pussy hut warming station

below: “What’s all the fuss about?”

a small black and white dog with a blue neoprene vest and a red coat with 4 legs

below:  A large square made of many pieces of hanging red fabric, anchored at the bottom with plywood.  This is “Obstacle” by Kien Pham.

Obstacles, by Kien Pham, an art installation part of warming stations 2018 in Toronto, by Lake Ontario, consists of many large flaps of red fabric that you can walk between.

a girl in pink jacket with pink hood stands between large flaps of red fabric that is part of Obstacles, an art installation

 

below: “Revolution” by a design team from OCAD university. It consists of 36 vertical red poles with conical metal pieces that twirl. You can look through them or speak through them, or just walk amongst the red poles.

people walking amongst an an art installation of small conical tubes like megaphones on red poles of differing heights.

looking down a metal tube

an art installation of small conical tubes like megaphones on red poles of differing heights, lake in background

below: Red!

a mother holds her young son's hand as they stand together on a beach overlooking Lake Ontario, backs to the camera

below: “Rising Up” by University of Guelph, School of Environmental Design and Rural Development.  The design was inspired by the topography of the Don Valley.

a white and brown dog on a leash in the foreground, people and kids climbing on a wooden structure which is actually an art installation called Rising Up

looking through part of rising up, a wood structure built on the beach, a couple walks hand in hand between the art installation and Lake Ontario

rising up, an installation part of warming stations at kew beach, beside lake ontario

below: Ooops!  One has blown over and collapsed already (it was quite windy).  Ironically it was called “Wind Station” (designed by Paul van den Berg and Joyce de Grauw).  When it was first constructed, it was in the shape of a nuclear cooling tower and you could go inside.  The little plastic windmills continue to blow in the wind.

a few people in the background, they are looking at white wood and white plastic toy windmills lying on the ground. it is a collapsed art installation, part of warming stations at kew beach, by Lake Ontario

below: Not everyone was looking at the warming stations.

a lone person standing on a beach, looking out over Lake Ontario, back to camera, in full wetsuit, holding onto a surf board under his (or her) arm, another surfboard sits on the sand.

below: This is ‘Make Some Noise’, designed by Alexander Greiss and Jorel Heid. Apparently it is based on based on the intonarumori, an invention of the Italian futurist Luigi Rusollo in 1914. An intonarumori generates noise. Rusollo envisioned noise music replacing traditional forms of music but he was not successful and none of his contraptions survived.

people on the beach checking out the art installation, Make Some Noise, a large yellow and black vertical box, with four large black loudspeakers

a child with a red jacket is trying to climb inside a large black speaker, conical shaped, on the side of a black and yellow art installation at the beach, warming stations, Kew Beach, lake ontario is in the background.

below: This is one side of the box. The red is a handle that can be turned thus generating noise. I don’t think that it was working. Each side had a handle and a black speaker.

close up detail of one side of Make Some Noise, an art installation, yellow and black diagonal stripes, narrow and close together

Stay warm!