Monocolumn

A daily bulletin of news & opinion

28 February 2014

ART: TORONTO

Simon Hughes: The Central Region

Winnipeg-born watercolourist Simon Hughes is showing at Division Gallery for his first Toronto solo exhibition since 2002. The show, The Central Region, takes its name from the 1971 experimental film La Région Centrale by Canadian filmmaker Michael Snow, shot entirely on a pre-programmed robotic arm. Taking cues from Snow, Hughes has given traditional realist watercolour landscapes an unexpected twist by confining his soft brushstrokes within idiosyncratic geometric shapes. He focuses instead on layers of colours and shade in the 12 works on display. For the five-panel “Orange County, Alberta” Hughes depicts the northern lights as luminescent green, pink and yellow shards over a mountain range which is a series of abstract triangles – of course.

Division Gallery, 45 Ernest Avenue. Open Tuesday to Saturday, 10.00-18.00. Until 5 April.
galeriedivision.com

ART FAIR: LONDON

Art14 London

This weekend is the last chance to wander around the booths of Art14 London, the city's global art fair hosted at the Olympia Grand hall in Kensington. This second edition serves up an international selection of paintings, installations and performance pieces from over 700 artists from 40 countries such as Russia, Argentina and South Africa. Benin-born artist Romuald Hazoumè’s installation “Rat Singer: Second Only to God!” shows a sinking canoe just moments before it vanishes into a sea of salvaged jerry cans. The lone rat onboard looks lost – a humourous sight perhaps but Hazoumè might just also be alluding to humanity drowning in its own waste. Or not.

Olympia Grand hall, Hammersmith Road. Open Friday to Saturday, 11.00-19.00; Sunday 11.00-17.00. Until 2 March.
artfairslondon.com

POSTER EXHIBITION: ZÜRICH

Japanese Poster Artists – Cherry Blossom and Asceticism

Museum für Gestaltung Zürich has pinned up 300 Japanese posters on its walls to commemorate 150 years of diplomatic relations between Japan and Switzerland. Dating from the post-Second World War period of the 1950s to the present, the exhibition is a study in the evolution of Japanese poster art. It reflects how Japan has remained proud of its cultural and national heritage even as it has enjoyed an American-backed industrial ascendance over the decades. For example, Nara-born Japanese graphic designer Ikko Tanaka’s 1995 piece, “The 200th Anniversary of Sharaku”, is an illustrated headshot of a samurai – a confident blend of western pop-art with the Japanese woodblock-print tradition of ukiyo-e from the 17th century.

Museum für Gestaltung Zürich, Ausstellungsstrasse 60. Open Tuesday to Sunday, 10.00-17.00; Wednesday 10.00-20.00. Until 25 May.
museum-gestaltung.ch

FAIR: SHANGHAI

Design Shanghai 2014

If you’re in Shanghai this weekend, don’t miss the chance to visit Design Shanghai – the city’s international design trade show. Based on a theme of “West Meets East” this year, the show will feature three halls themed as contemporary, classic and collectible. Well-known brands such as Magis, Alessi, Fritz Hansen and Tom Dixon are among the exhibitors and the trade show will also host a seminar programme with talks by renowned designers such as Ilse Crawford and Michael Young, as well as showing work from upcoming Chinese talent.

Shanghai Exhibition Centre, No.1000 Yanan Road Mid, Jingan District. Open 11.00 to 18.30.
designshowshanghai.com

MUSIC: GLOBAL

St Vincent: St Vincent

Annie Clark’s four-album trajectory (five if you count the recent David Byrne collaboration) as St Vincent since 2007 has seen the Dallas-raised quirk-pop specialist evolving in style. Once an outsider artist with huge crossover potential – she’s now a huge artist who is somehow still sounding like a person happily stuck outside the box. On the self-titled St Vincent there’s shades of everything from ballads trapped within clever jerky digital rhythms to full-on stadium rocking stompers covered in distorted vintage synths. Recent nods by Prince and now St Vincent to 1970s “Frankenstein”-era Edgar Winter Group-style (ask your dad) dinosaur-rock excess appears to be ushering in 2014’s most unexpected revival, but that’s progress – evolution, even – and it’s unstoppable.

‘St Vincent’ is available to buy now.
ilovestvincent.com

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