art galleries banner

Site Visits: Investigating intersections between art and architecture

Share
July 04 - August 16, 2008

Idea Exchange
Design at Riverside
7 Melville Street S, Cambridge, ON
Google Maps

Featuring projects by over a dozen artists, architects and designers spanning two galleries, the exhibition includes a multidisciplinary range of photo and video documentation, installations, drawings, multiples, and mixed media constructions that have been inspired by, or created in direct response to architecture. Site Visits proposes that architecture be viewed not only as a built form, but as a cipher that can be used to examine a wide-range of pertinent issues; from social policy to the appropriation of public space, from icons of Modernism to sites of catastrophe, from the rise of global development to urban nomadism. Architecture forms the lens through which we can examine the urgency – and often the unease – that underlines contemporary culture.

SITE VISITS at Design at Riverside: The common thread that links the selected projects in this segment of the exhibition can be referred to as mythical architecture. Each of the works exhibited represent an exploration of different aspects of myth that are derived from architectural sources. They challenge our perceptions of history, of revered architectural movements and expose the transitory nature of permanence. Finally, they evoke personal and collective memories of people, places and events that are inextricably linked to architecture and modern myth.

Boym Partners Inc
The Boyms are driven by curiosity to play and experiment with the material elements of everyday life and landscapes. They have created products & environments for an international roster of...

The Boyms are driven by curiosity to play and experiment with the material elements of everyday life and landscapes. They have created products & environments for an international roster of clients, including Alessi, Swatch, Flos & Vitra, and the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. Objects designed by the Boyms are in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Boym Partners was founded in New York by Constantin Boym in 1986.  Laurene Leon Boym joined the firm as a partner in 1995.

Constantin Boym was born in Moscow, Russia in 1955, where he graduated from Moscow Architectural Institute. In 1984-85 he earned a Masters Degree in Design from Domus Academy in Milan.  Laurene Leon Boym was born in NYC in 1964. She earned a BFA from the School of Visual Arts in 1984, and a MID from Pratt Institute in 1993.

Lynne Eichenberg
Lynne Eichenberg is a graduate of the University of Waterloo, (B. Arch. 1991, B.E.S. 1998, B.A. 1982). Lynne received the R.A.I.C. Medal for Architectural Thesis in 1992. Lynne has collaborated with...

Lynne Eichenberg is a graduate of the University of Waterloo, (B. Arch. 1991, B.E.S. 1998, B.A. 1982). Lynne received the R.A.I.C. Medal for Architectural Thesis in 1992. Lynne has collaborated with Brad since 1992 as well as contributing to several other architectural projects and competitions.

Lynne has been adjunct faculty at the University of Waterloo and has been a guest critic and lecturer at the Schools of Architecture in Toronto and in Waterloo and guest critic at the University of Manitoba.

Lynne is currently consulting to Paul Raff Studio where she is working on several complex urban residential and public art projects.

Brad Golden and Lynne Eichenberg

Since 1984, Brad Golden and Lynne Eichenberg have directed and collaborated on projects which address issues of public spaces and landscapes. From large scale collaborations with architects and engineers to smaller, private commissions, Eichenberg and Golden have become well recognized for creating both permanent and temporary artworks involving the integration of architecture, art, and landscape construction. Eichenberg and Golden's experience in communication with multiple disciplines has led to successful collaborations with architects, landscape architects and engineers across many levels of bureaucratic administration. Projects to date have featured crafted construction combined with studied interpretation of the physical characteristics of the project site.

Brad Golden
Brad Golden is a graduate of the University of Waterloo (B. Arch 1992, B.E.S. 1988) and York University (B.A. 1983). Brad has extensive experience in the design and management of large scale...

Brad Golden is a graduate of the University of Waterloo (B. Arch 1992, B.E.S. 1988) and York University (B.A. 1983). Brad has extensive experience in the design and management of large scale artwork and landscape related projects. He is principal of Brad Golden + Co Public Art Consulting where he manages a variety of public art programmes and projects for both public and private sector clients.

Brad is a member of the City of Vaughan's inaugural Design Review Panel and has been a guest critic at the Schools of Architecture in Toronto and in Waterloo and guest critic at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, University of Toronto and Ryerson University as well as founder, past producer and host of Designers Talk, a monthly radio programme addressing a wide range of issues in design.

Brad Golden and Lynne Eichenberg

Since 1984, Brad Golden and Lynne Eichenberg have directed and collaborated on projects which address issues of public spaces and landscapes. From large scale collaborations with architects and engineers to smaller, private commissions, Eichenberg and Golden have become well recognized for creating both permanent and temporary artworks involving the integration of architecture, art, and landscape construction.Eichenberg and Golden's experience in communication with multiple disciplines has led to successful collaborations with architects, landscape architects and engineers across many levels of bureaucratic administration.Projects to date have featured crafted construction combined with studied interpretation of the physical characteristics of the project site.

Paulette Phillips
Paulette Phillips works in Europe and Canada in film for installation and also with audio, performance, electro-magnetism, digital photography, video, light and mechanics. During her career she has...

Paulette Phillips works in Europe and Canada in film for installation and also with audio, performance, electro-magnetism, digital photography, video, light and mechanics. During her career she has established an international reputation for her tense, humorous and uncanny explorations of the complexity of social and physical energy and contradictions that play out in our construction of stability. She began her career as an artist making video, performance and multimedia performance and went on to train as a feature film director and writer at the Canadian Film Centre. She shifted from film production to installation based sculpture with film and video in 2000.

John Massey
John Massey spent one year at Trent University in Peterborough and then went on to complete his studies at the Ontario College of Art in Toronto. During the early 1980s, he gained a national and...

John Massey spent one year at Trent University in Peterborough and then went on to complete his studies at the Ontario College of Art in Toronto. During the early 1980s, he gained a national and international reputation for his artwork and since then his work has been seen in major exhibitions in Germany, the United States, France, Australia as well as in Canada. 

At times in his career he could be described as a sculptor, an installation artist, or a film-maker.  During the last decade he has been increasingly interested in the nature of photography, its reference to the real world and its potential to alter real-life perceptions. Massey combines conventional photography with computer manipulation.

Penelope Umbrico
Penelope Umbrico is an artist / photographer best known for appropriating images found using search engines and picture sharing websites. She received her O.A.C.A. at the Ontario College of Art in...

Penelope Umbrico is an artist / photographer best known for appropriating images found using search engines and picture sharing websites. She received her O.A.C.A. at the Ontario College of Art in Toronto, Canada in 1980 and her M.F.A. in 1989 at the School of Visual Arts in New York. She has had solo exhibitions at the International Center of Photography, NY; LMAKprojects, NY; Julie Saul Gallery, NY; Bernard Toale Gallery, Boston; Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, AL; and P/M Gallery, Toronto.



  • Site Visits: Investigating intersections between art and architecture (installation), 2008. Photo cred: David Popplow
    Site Visits: Investigating intersections between art and architecture (installation), 2008. Photo cred: David Popplow
  • Site Visits: Investigating intersections between art and architecture (installation), 2008. Photo cred: David Popplow
    Site Visits: Investigating intersections between art and architecture (installation), 2008. Photo cred: David Popplow
  • Site Visits: Investigating intersections between art and architecture (installation), 2008. Photo cred: David Popplow
    Site Visits: Investigating intersections between art and architecture (installation), 2008. Photo cred: David Popplow
  • Site Visits: Investigating intersections between art and architecture (installation), 2008. Photo cred: David Popplow
    Site Visits: Investigating intersections between art and architecture (installation), 2008. Photo cred: David Popplow

List of Works

List of works and artist statements for Site Visits at Design at Riverside.

PENELOPE UMBRICO
There are 179,000,000 hits for ‘home improvement’ on Google.  Coupled with the masses of unsolicited material arriving in our mail boxes from home-décor retailers, the latest condo project promotions and the barrage of lifestyle magazines and television programs, we are constantly exposed to images that carry the promise of making things better.

Penelope Umbrico collects, de-contextualizes and re-contextualizes this material to identify and question the voyeurism, consumer desires and cultural longings manufactured by relentless exposure to fabricated idealized ‘private’ spaces.  Ms. Umbrico is interested in the shift of the viewer from detached consumer to vicarious subject within the images and the peculiar condition of empathetic identification with an ’other’ who does not exist. 

The obsessive journey to acquire beauty, status, intimacy and love through the acquisition of a ‘design’ lifestyle will continue as long as it is fuelled by the lifestyle industry propaganda machine. Penelope Umbrico will continue to chronicle and re-interpret this phenomenon for the foreseeable future.

PENELOPE UMBRICO
Mirrors (From Catalogues)
2001-2005
digital c-prints on Plexiglas
Courtesy of the artist and P/M Gallery, Toronto
Mirrors (From Catalogues) are taken directly from lifestyle catalogues and brochures displaying idealized room suites.  The mirrors are presented in a manner so as to reflect what would be behind the viewer were they located within the catalogue room setting. These mirrors imply that the seductive trappings reflected become surrogates for the missing reflections of the viewer—who is witness to his/her own erasure.

PENELOPE UMBRICO
Titles
2007-2008
224 glazed ceramic tiles
The monogram implies the elevation of the mass-produced object and by extension, its owner to a unique and rarified status. Titles is a collection of monogrammed objects appropriated and re-photographed from images displayed in lifestyle catalogues and real estate brochures. These images depict fictional perfectly appointed environments that belong to fictional individuals and families. The custom made ceramic tiles provide a means to incorporate the monograms onto a material commonly used in every home and to re-group them into new fictional families.

PENELOPE UMBRICO
Bed Role
2006
DVD Loop
Bed Role is a video pan of collaged bedroom images from home-décor and lifestyle catalogues.  The beds play a pivotal role in inviting the viewer to vicariously inhabit these idealized homes with their flawless interiors and implied fictional inhabitants. The fluffy pillows and immaculately rolled down linens promise untold fantasies that play on seduction, desire and intimacy.  The camera mimics lifelike movement through each interior and then intentionally ruptures the ambiance by abruptly shifting to catalogue page numbers or unfiltered studio light reflecting off the pages.

JOHN MASSEY
Phantoms of the Modern
2004
Archival digital prints
Edition of 5
On loan from the collection of David Daniels and Kate Alexander Daniels

Phantoms of the Modern
Series of Six --Left to Right:

  1. Action in Chains
  2. The Beginning of the World
  3. Walking Woman
  4. King of Kings
  5. Ecstasy
  6. The Kiss

In David Rimanelli’s Phantoms of the Modern catalogue essay entitled ‘The Naked House’,  2004, he expounds on the historic attraction of domestic interiors as a subject in which the artist either “hopes to bridge the divide between life and art”, or desires “to reveal something about the social, political, and psychological implications of how and where we live”.

Phantoms of the Modern is a photographic journey through the artist’s childhood home.  The architecture serves as a backdrop for the imposition of Massey’s memories with the injection of iconic 20th Century artworks. As Romanelli states “the title refers no less to the ghosts of childhood than it does to these spectres of modernist art, revenant spirits embodied as paintings and sculptures for the most part, the new tenants that Massey has moved in to take the place of his family.”

BOYM PARTNERS
Buildings of Disaster
1997- on going
Bonded metal
Limited Edition of 500
Buildings of Disaster are miniature replicas of famous structures where tragic or terrible events happened to take place.  These small monuments comprise a different populist history of architecture, one based on emotional involvement rather than academic appreciation.  Inevitably, as with other tragic events throughout history, the sites have become involuntary monuments and tourist destinations.

Originally conceived as part of a larger collection entitled Souvenirs of the End of the Century (1998-2000).   Then as the Buildings of Disaster collection grew and a number of editions were sold out, it became its own entity and presently, continues with the addition of new buildings

Every monument is individually cast of heavy specially formulated material: bonded metal.  Each is hand-finished and consecutively numbered

  1. Chernobyl, April 26, 1986
  2. Federal Building, Oklahoma City, April 19, 1995
  3. Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, March 25, 1911
  4. The Golden Mosque in Samarra, February 22, 2006
  5. The World Trade Centre, September 11, 2001
  6. Three Mile Island, March 28, 1979
  7. Waco, Texas, April 19, 1993
  8. Empire State Building, July 28, 1945
  9. Unabomber Cabin, 1997

PAULETTE PHILLIPS
Bubblova
2006
Film
Bubblova was commissioned by Interaccess for the Festival of the Humanities, Toronto, 2006

Shell Tower
The Shell Tower
(later renamed the Bulova Shell Tower), was designed by architect George Robb and built at Exhibition Place, Toronto in 1955. The Shell Tower was a classic example of International Style modernist architecture.

City of Toronto Archives, Series 756, File 60
City of Toronto Archives, Series 330, File 524
City of Toronto Archives, Series 1148, File 130
City of Toronto Archives, Series 1148, File 65
City of Toronto Archives, Series 1148, File 143

BRAD GOLDEN AND LYNNE EICHENBERG
Simcoe Memorial Campsite Founding
1994
Tryptych
Competition Panels for Simcoe Place Art Competition
Mixed media
On loan from the collection of Cadillac Fairview Corporation Limited

BRAD GOLDEN AND LYNNE EICHENBERG
Spadina Line

Spadina Road, Toronto
1991

Humber Bridge
Mouth of the Humber River, Toronto
1992

Horse Power
Kitchener City Hall, Kitchener
1993

Simcoe Memorial Campsite Founding
Simcoe Place, Toronto
1994




Curatorial Writing

by Esther E. Shipman, Curator, Design at Riverside.  Myth: n. 1. A traditional story, usually focusing on the deeds of gods or heroes, often in explanation of some natural phenomenon. It purports to...

by Esther E. Shipman, Curator, Design at Riverside. 

Myth: n. 1. A traditional story, usually focusing on the deeds of gods or heroes, often in explanation of some natural phenomenon. It purports to be historical, but is useful to historians principally for what it reveals of the culture of the peoples it describes or among whom it was current.
2. An allegory or parable used to explain or illustrate a philosophic concept.
Mythology: n. 1. A volume of myths. 2. A body of myths associated with a person or institution. 3. Storytelling.

Myth is the common thread that links the selected projects in the Design at Riverside component of the exhibition. The diverse work of John Massey, Penelope Umbrico, Boym Partners, Paulette Phillips and Brad Golden & Lynne Eichenberg reflect different and sometimes overlapping aspects of modern myth derived from architecture. Collectively, they comprise a brief compendium of “Mythical Architecture”.

Twentieth Century modernist architecture was an abrupt departure from the past and a fervent embrace by the architectural avant-garde of a future reflective of massive social and technological change. It is not difficult to conjure up the optimism with which early modernist buildings were erected in all corners of the globe, or to trace the emergence of a small group of European and American architects who have come to embody the essence of the modernist movement, and who have subsequently influenced generations of architects and designers. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, more commonly referred to simply as “Mies”, is arguably the most revered figure of the movement, or conversely, is the one most demonized by modernism’s detractors. His legendary larger than life persona, and the legacy of his work has boosted him to the status of an architectural ‘demigod’, a semi-mythical figure against whom all others are measured.

What happens if we turn the concept of mythical status on its ear by replacing the mythical individual or hero with an inanimate object – for instance a building? The type of building could vary. It could be a featureless office building, where the seminal thinking and ideals of modern architecture of the Heroic Age have sadly devolved into a banal box. It could be a geographical landmark, or an industrial complex. As building types they are unremarkable, however, as a result of their designated purpose – religious, corporate, government, industrial – they have achieved a certain status in their respective communities. In some cases, they have come to represent the institutional pillars of our culture, the building blocks of society. Now, blow them up, burn them down, plot anarchy within their walls – thus altering public perception of these buildings forever. In fact, blow them up to mythic proportions in the public’s mind’s eye. Imprint their silhouette in the collective psyche for at least a generation.

Now, think macro. Think home sweet home, comfort food, favourite tunes, cozy, secure, warm. Everything just the way you like it – the right address, the ideal accessories. Just the way your stylist planned it– picture perfect. Manufactured desire became the cornerstone of post World War II economic recovery and has permeated virtually every corner of the globe. Via all forms of media, we are kept apprised ofwhat the trappings of success and happiness look like and how we can acquire them. Mythical ‘Lifestyle’ arrives on our doorstep daily.

Less obvious are the means by which history, myth and architecture are woven together in public spaces. Civic plazas, monuments, symbolic artworks and distinctive buildings emerge as cultural compasses, reflective of their time and place. Urban myths may envelope them due to controversy surrounding their design, or their construction, or because they serve as the backdrop to a significant historical event. These public structures represent a continuity with the past and in some cases are linked to a local or national collective identity. What happens then, when some of these structures are lost through custodial neglect, or demolished in the name of progress? Does this create the seeds of new urban myths or is their memory simply relegated to the dust heap as we scratch our heads trying to remember what once stood here? Ideas and ideals of a given era are given credence through architecture and then frequently devalued in subsequent eras – their original raison d’être long since forgotten. Built architecture is tangible, but behind the bricks and mortar façade, one often finds myth.




Related Programming

Site Visits: Investigating intersections between art and architecture
Idea Exchange, Queen's Square
July 04 - August 16, 2008
Read More»


Funders

City of Cambridge Canada Council for the Arts Ontario Arts CouncilWaterloo Architecture