Objects & Ideas_Aero_LivingRoom_V5_Hres copy_opener

This Toronto Design Studio Finds Inspiration in the Canadian Wilderness

The Toronto-based design group Objects & Ideas works within a conceptual-meets-functional framework, and they talk about their work as an active excavation of the voice and soul of objects. "What we do is much closer to art than to mass production," says co-founder Bob Dodd. "Like everyone, we have to make money, and we have to make products people want to possess and cherish, but our furniture is definitely a vehicle to express our ideas and concepts. The best products have a soul and a presence."
More
Rideout_opener

Brian Rideout Makes Art For Design Lovers

Brian Rideout's American Collection Paintings are meant to transform the interiors images he finds in old decorating books and magazines into archival records of time and place: “A contemporary reference to the Flemish collection paintings of the early 17th century, American Collection Paintings … aims to reorient these glossy commercial examples into historical documents,” he says.
More
MSDS-20150147

Toronto’s MSDS Studio

MSDS — the small, Toronto-based studio of Jonathan Sabine and Jessica Nakanishi, who have been working together since 2011 — is a perfect blend of its founders Scandinavian and Japanese sensibilities: aesthetics outlined by minimal, well-considered forms and explorations into tactile, human materials. The duo have been on our radar since spotting (and still very much coveting!) their Pleated Series of terracotta planters and vases, which they designed for the launch of Umbra Shift at ICFF last May. So nothing could’ve tamed our delight when we came across the duo’s solo stand in and amongst the Nordic brands at the Stockholm Furniture Fair last month.
More
disclamp01_web

Mercury Bureau, Furniture Designer

We've heard of people putting their art career on hold in order to be a designer, or their finance career on hold in order to be an artist, but Shane Krepakevich is probably the first person we've known who put his geology career on hold to make furniture. The Edmonton native initially chose science over art when attending college in the late '90s, but realized after graduating that it would be easier for him to return to geology later than vice versa. After painting and then sculpting his way through an MFA in 2010 — with a focus on functional objects and architectural measurements — he began moonlighting for the Montreal lighting studio Lambert & Fils. The rest, as they say, is history: Krepakevich moved to Toronto this past September, set up his own design studio under the name Mercury Bureau, and released a collection of lights, tables, and shelves that dovetail with his still-ongoing art practice.
More
Roula Parthenou, Parts and Wholes, 2013: “Roula’s earlier work consisted of pieces she called handmade readymades: She’d buy pre-made canvases from art supply stores, find objects in the same size and shape like books or pieces of lumber, then paint the canvases as replicas. These tables, from her recent third solo show with the gallery, contain objects that look like books or other mysterious things; things that look like holes but aren’t holes, or that look like they’re part of something but you don’t know what. There are blocks of wood that look like sponges, but there's also part of a rain pipe that’s an actual pipe. Very few of them are found objects, but you start to question that.”

Michael Klein of Toronto’s MKG127 Gallery

According to Canadian curator Michael Klein, when people think of art in Vancouver, they think of photo-conceptualism. When they think of Winnipeg, it’s the Royal Art Lodge, the drawing collective founded in 1996 that launched the careers of talents like Marcel Dzama. But Toronto, on the other hand, resists such classifications — it’s one of the most diverse cities in the world, says Klein, and the same can be said for its art scene. So why do we automatically associate the city with the kind of clever, minimalist conceptual work that Klein shows at MKG127, the gallery he founded there in 2007? Blame the artist Micah Lexier — we covered his amazing A to B installation on Sight Unseen in 2010, and then proceeded to fall down the MKG rabbit hole, marveling both at the subtle, obsessive-compulsive thrills that characterize many of the works shown there and at the weird cohesiveness of Klein’s vision.
More
Box divided into twenty compartments: “I think this came from some kind of dentist — there was stuff in each compartment at some point, little remnants of fillings and other things. That’s what I love about objects that have been removed from their original context: There’s a reason why they were made a certain way, but when you take that reason away they’re just decoratively beautiful and unknowable objects.”

A to B at Toronto’s MKG127

There’s no object too mundane to catch Micah Lexier’s eye. He collects scraps torn off cardboard boxes, envelopes and papers lying in the street, even bathroom-cleaning checklists at restaurants — anything that deals with the passage of time or with systems, the driving forces behind his own work as an artist. “I love garbage day,” he says. “It’s hard for me to walk home and not find things. I keep a knife in my pocket just in case.” It’s not that Lexier necessarily uses these found items in his own pieces, like the 1994 series in which he photographed 75 men from age 1 to 75, all of whom were named David. They’re just another part of his lifelong fascination with the aesthetics of order, a way of seeing the world that was mapped out perfectly in the show he recently curated at Toronto’s MKG127 gallery, where curiosities from his collection sat alongside sequentially themed works by other artists.
More