Skip to main content

The Vancouver Art Gallery Celebrates Post-War Craft & Design In BC With 'Modern In The Making'

From a media release:

The Vancouver Art Gallery Presents
Modern in the Making:
Post-War Craft and Design in British Columbia
July 18, 2020 to January 3, 2021


Discover the Ceramics, Fashion, Furniture, Jewellery and Textiles That Defined West Coast Modern Living in the Mid-Twentieth Century

Vancouver, BC – The Vancouver Art Gallery is proud to present Modern in the Making: Post-War Craft and Design in British Columbia from July 18, 2020 to January 3, 2021. The exhibition is the most comprehensive view of the mid-century craft and design scene in British Columbia assembled to date, examining ceramics, fashion, furniture, jewellery and textiles that defined West Coast modern living. Comprising over three hundred works created from 1945 to 1975, Modern in the Making: Post-War Craft and Design in British Columbia reveals the multiple ways modernism was interpreted in British Columbia, with the inflection of local histories, materials and knowledge with a recognition of the rich Indigenous cultures that predated the arrival of settler cultures.
Vancouver Art Gallery - Modern in the Making

“The post-war craft and design period in British Columbia was especially significant because design and craft were activities considered essential for a life of creative pursuit. Modern in the Making: Post-War Craft and Design in British Columbia surveys a period characterized by enormous creativity and innovation that transformed the culture of this region—the reverberations of which continue to be felt today,” stated Daina Augaitis, Interim Director at the Vancouver Art Gallery. “Well-crafted objects are currently experiencing a revival, as the handmade has assumed a position of renewed importance in our digital age.”
Earle A. Morrison and Robin Bush for Earle A. Morrison Ltd., Victoria, BC; Airfoam Lounge Chair (#141), 1951; steel rod, plywood, walnut, upholstery. Collection of Allan Collier

In the three decades following the Second World War, thousands of people immigrated to British Columbia seeking the benefits of its resource-based economy, mild climate, natural amenities and inventive spirit. This optimistic post-war environment fostered the development of exceptional design and craft practices deeply influenced by the tenets of modernism: simplicity, fine craftsmanship and functional design for everyday use. The exhibition is organized chronologically to document how the aesthetic, material and conceptual approaches to design and craft shifted over three decades of production between 1945 and 1975.

The included works reflect the increased demand for a wide range of functional, domestic objects that could complement the new West Coast modern architectural style that had begun to emerge.

Highlights include Nuu-chah-nulth weaver Nellie Jacobson’s grass buttons and traditional baskets that point to both the ruptures in this region caused by colonial expansion and the importance of Indigenous design in the modernization of British Columbia.
L: Unknown Nuu-chah-nulth weaver; Ucluelet Basket, 1944. R: Axel Ebring, pitcher, c. 1940s; ceramic. Collection of John David Lawrence; Photos: Ian Lebebvre, Vancouver Art Gallery

The transition from the functionalism of the 1950s to more expressive and idiosyncratic forms is presented with custom-designed furniture alongside craft items for the home, such as weaving and other fibre art, ceramics and enamelware. A large installation of studio pottery traces the shift from utility to personal expression as artists began exploring diverse asymmetrical forms, techniques such as raku and experimented with surface treatments. A significant presentation of weavings, varying from the highly expressive to the geometrically abstract, exemplifies the spirit of innovation in form and materiality that characterized the period. The burgeoning counterculture movements of the 1960s and 70s in this region are reflected through textiles, fashion objects and visual artworks that blur the distinction between design, craft, art and performance.

Allan Collier, Guest Curator of Modern in the Making: Post-War Craft and Design in British Columbia has had a lengthy relationship with the Vancouver Art Gallery. Collier initiated and guest curated West Coast Modern Furniture, 1945-1960 in 1988 and allowed loans from his remarkable furniture collection for the Gardiner Museum’s touring exhibition True Nordic: How Scandinavian Design Influenced Design in Canada exhibited at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 2016. Collier maintains an extensive collection of post-war furniture by British Columbia-based designers as well as modern Canadian ceramics and industrial design. This exhibition was originally inspired by the possibility of the Vancouver Art Gallery becoming the eventual home for his furniture collection and the Gallery’s desire to contextualize this momentous gift within a broader framework of postwar craft and design.

L: Tony Cavelti, Brooch, 1957; 18-carat gold, pure gold dust, platinum, diamonds, rubies, sapphires. Private Collection; Photo: Ian Lebebvre, Vancouver Art Gallery
R: Robert Davidson, Xiigya (bracelet), 1972; silver. Courtesy of the Museum of Anthropology, UBC, Vancouver.

Modern in the Making: Post-War Craft and Design in British Columbia is organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery and curated by Daina Augaitis, Interim Director, Allan Collier, Guest Curator and Stephanie Rebick, Associate Curator.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a publication that features a foreword by co-curator Daina Augaitis, an in-depth historical overview by co-curator Allan Collier that maps a trajectory of design practice in the region, two commissioned essays by Michelle McGeough and Michael Prokopow and artist biographies. Co-published with Figure One and available in June.

Comments

What Else Is Hot This Week?

Cuba Re-Opens To International Tourism

From a media release:Cuba Re-Opens To International Tourism
October 2020Cuba adapts to the “new normal” and announces the re-opening of international tourism in most of the country.After controlling the pandemic, local authorities announced the country is embracing a “new normal” for most of the country’s provinces except: Havana, Ciego de Avila and Sancti Spiritus (Which still have some cases of local transmission).All international airports are already open, except Havana Airport, which will remain limited to humanitarian and cargo flights for the time being, and Cayo Coco airport, open only for tourism due to the current situation in the province of Ciego de Avila.The Minister of tourism, Mr. Juan Carlos Garcia Granda, said that “air only” passengers will be able to enter the country through all the open airports, with the exception of Cayo Coco Airport, which will continue to work as before (Holiday package: air and hotel).The Minister noted that foreign tourists will be able to st…

Jazzy Pop: Shihori - Soul Trip (Independent / 4 September 2020)

Jazzy Pop:
Shihori - Soul Trip
(Independent / 4 September 2020)New York City based singer and songwriter Shihori's new single Soul Trip is atmospheric and ambient. Interesting rhythms and interwoven melodic vocal lines showcase jazzy harmonic progressions in a slow groove mode. 
As a songwriter, she uses electronic effects with impeccable musical taste. As a singer, her flexible vocals range from a sweet soprano to a strong mid-range.A veteran of the Japanese pop scene, Shihori moved to New York City in 2018, a move she talks about in a media release."I was so surprised when I came to NY for the first time. Independent and strong women are respected and there are lots of different preferences in music and style. I thought, 'oh my God! This place really accepts uniqueness and freedom! I didn't know there is a place like this totally different world that allows you to be yourself. Everybody looks so different. So many races, colors, cultures, fashion, ideas...I am so happy…

FACTORY presents World Premiere ACTS OF FAITH November 19 to 28 2020 - Free Livestream

From a media release:World Premiere
FACTORY presents 
ACTS OF FAITHby David Yee
Directed by Nina Lee Aquino
Starring Natasha Mumba
November 19 – 28, 2020 @ 7:30PM
Streamed live for 6 performances
Free of charge
TORONTO (October 19, 2020) - To kick off its groundbreaking 2020/21 season, Factory presents the world premiere of acts of faith, by multi-award winning Asian Canadian playwright David Yee, directed by Nina Lee Aquino, and starring Natasha Mumba. Written specifically to be performed for a digital platform, acts of faith will stream live to audiences at home for six performances, November 19-28, 2020. 
Thanks to the generous support of the TD Bank Group, admission is being offered entirely free of charge to audiences across the country and beyond.acts of faith tells a story about the power of faith, the inescapable persistence of our online identities, and the nature of truth in a digital age. The story follows Faith, a young woman who gets mistaken for a prophet. When a questionable r…

Alt Country | Doc Straw & the Scarecrows: Get on By (Independent / July 31, 2020)

Alt Country
Doc Straw & the Scarecrows: Get on By
(Independent / July 31, 2020)Stream it on SpotifyClever lyrics that tell a story and an appealing acoustic bounce give the new single by Doc Straw & the Scarecrows a classic modern folk vibe. The vocal harmonies are pleasing and the words are an upbeat ode to persevering during tough times.
It's a timely message, and Doc talked about it in a release."I wrote this song after getting off of a 3-hour long phone conversation with my sister, Jessica, and a lot of our conversation that evening  centered around some of the tougher things in life and how we were dealing with these struggles. If a person lives long enough then at some point they will experience these trying seasons. I've learned that it's important to pay attention during those times because that is when we have some of the best opportunities to grow."It has a nicely haunting harmonica line and builds to an emotional peak. Virginia based Mike Straw is…

Vancouver Art Gallery Fall Exhibitions | Victor Vasarely, Op Art in Vancouver & Uncommon Language October 17, 2020 to April 5, 2021

From a media release:Vancouver Art Gallery New Fall Exhibitions
Victor Vasarely, Op Art in Vancouver & Uncommon Language
October 17, 2020 to April 5, 2021To book tickets: Visit vanartgallery.bc.caOctober 17, 2020, Vancouver, BC – This fall, the Vancouver Art Gallery presents Victor Vasarely, a selected survey of paintings, sculptures and prints by the Hungarian-French artist Victor Vasarely (1906–1997), internationally renowned for his colourful abstract patterns and playful, and visually engaging aesthetic.  Victor Vasarely, OERVENG, 1968, tempera on wood composite board, Collection of the Vancouver Art Gallery, Gift of the Estate of Kathleen E. Reif, Estate of Victor Vasarely/SOCAN (2020), Photo: Ian Lefebvre, Vancouver Art Gallery The exhibition focuses on his artistic production from the 1960s and 70s, at the height of his popularity. With the most extensive collection of Vasarely artworks in Canada, the Gallery offers a unique opportunity for the public to discover this influenti…