Mark McLean may be a newcomer to Toronto’s design scene, but you’d never guess looking at his Dollar Store Triptych â€” three popular pieces assembled from objects commonly found in dollar stores, objects familiar enough to Canadians that the work resonated with an almost nostalgic quality.
The first panel, at a glance, had a fibrous texture a little reminiscent of an acoustic ceiling tile, but with with a more yielding appearance, and emblazoned with a hand flashing the peace sign.Â Closer inspection revealed thousands of tiny plastic Army men, congealed into a single mass under a thick coat of paint.
The middle panel riffed playfully on the Canadiana so ubiquitous to touristy roadside stores, collaging flag stickers into that most Canadian of icons, the moose.
On the right, landing somewhere between fireworks and household brushes, this series of puffy vortices were impossible to miss.Â Viewers were first sucked in by the unusual yet oddly familiar forms, and then confronted by an irresistible urge to touch.Â The tactile quality of the work was as important as the visual, in this case, and in playing with the work, its true construction is revealed â€” deceptively simple, the entire structure is made of electric fan covers adorned with pull-ties in carefully arranged patterns.
See more of Mark’s work here, or read his blog here.
Katherine and Erin are the producers and curators of the all women TO DO exhibition, Capacity. In their interview they chat about the niche Capacity fills and the exposure of women in the Toronto design scene.
p.s. We also wanted to mention that Katherine Morley co-curated Come Up To My Room 2009 and 2010 with Deborah Wang, Caroline Shaheed and myself.
This is a little video I shot and threw together showing the setup and final products of this year’s show!Â Show participants, audience and readers, please feel free to comment:Â How was this year’s show for you?
For me the show was magical! I have to say it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life! Getting to work with so many creative people and then really getting to know them over the long hours of the show was really fun.Â I actually had a hard time saying goodbye to everyone. The biggest measure of the show’s success is the experiences of the participants!Â I will miss you all!