435 King Street East, Cambridge, ON
Luke Painter’s art practice explores the relationships between historical and contemporary design and art movements by creating formal, narrative and tangential connections between them. In this current exhibition titled, Modern Wand, Painter has created a number of sculptures that are amalgams and translations of historical design objects and furniture.
The series of sculptures are fabricated in glass and wood through traditional and laser cut techniques and rest on a series of interconnecting and raised carpeted platforms. Influenced by designers like Arthur Mackmurdo and Emile Galle, these works convey organic, ornamental and anthropomorphic sensibilities with the appearance of holding the body and also physically suggesting the body at the same time. The work offers a space for the viewer to imagine the often-contrasting themes of functionality and fantasy that played out in the 20th century in relation to art and design practices. The objects appear to be adrift without a specific stylistic timeframe and with uncertain and open intentions.
The title of the exhibition is taken from a book published in 1928 by the German designer Karl Leuth titled Moderne Wand und Decken-Dekoration ("Modern Wall and Ceiling Decoration"). It details wall and ceiling designs that were influenced by competing styles in the late 19th and 20th centuries. These included the floral motifs of the Arts and Crafts Movement, the ornamental nature of Art Deco and the geometric minimalism of the forthcoming Modernist style. Painter is specifically interested in pairing the words "Modern" and "Wand". The contemporary art context for the term modern is used to designate the period before contemporary and marks a difference in philosophical approach to art making. In design, the word modern is mostly associated and marketed as a product that is current, and often has a restrained and tasteful formalism. In contrast to modern, the word wand is associated with a magical instrument in the fantasy genre. It is a fictional, often gnarled piece of wood that is organic in appearance and has the potential to alter reality. For Painter, the connection to history resides with the cast bases of Tiffany lamps resembling tree stumps and the natural design elements of Charles Rennie Mackintosh. The pairing of the words Modern and Wand is purposeful in creating tension in the areas of taste and aesthetics in 20th century furniture, art and design.
Opening: Friday, March 31 at 7:00pm.
Luke Painter is an artist and a professor working in Toronto. Recent exhibitions and screenings of his work include: The Teasers and the Tormentors at Galerie Clark in Montreal (solo 2016), Ways of Something at the Whitney Museum of American Art (group 2016) and Five Years of Contemporary Canadian Drawing at the Sudbury Art Gallery (group 2016). Luke has received grants from Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council and the Toronto Arts Council and has been reviewed by Canadian Art, Border Crossings, The Globe and Mail and was included in Carte Blanche Vol 2 – Painting, a national survey of Canadian painters. Luke is an Associate Professor at OCAD University in Toronto.