58 Ossington Ave
Toronto, Ontario

XPACE - Grey area - July 6

Grey area: A visual conversation about design and art, and the space in between

Opening reception: Friday, July 6 at 8 pm
From July 6–July 15, 2007
XPACE (58 Ossington Ave, Toronto / 416 849 2864 / xpace.info)

Featuring work by some of Toronto's top designers:

Alex Wittholz (Helios Design Labs), Bill Douglas (the Bang/Coupe magazine), Bob Hambly (Hambly & Woolley), Claire Dawson & Fidel Peña (Underline Studio), Frederick Burbach, Luke Canning (GRAND CREATIVE INC.), Malcolm Brown, Parcel Design, Paul Sych, Scott Wise & Karl Thomson (Compass360)

Are design and art really that different?

This was the question posed to a select group of top professional graphic designers and studios in Toronto for XPACE's new show "Grey area: A visual conversation about design and art, and the space in between".

Although not a novel question by any means, it is worthy of exploration, especially since XPACE is the Ontario College of Art & Design's external artist- and student-run space. As such, part of its mandate is to build a bridge between art and design students and their professional counterparts, while promoting relevant programming that instigates public discourse and propels the development of contemporary art and design. Although these two disciplines are taught and co-exist at OCAD, it is an unavoidable observation that they seldom interact. Separated not only by inevitable program differences, but by physical space and funding as well, it is often easier to acknowledge the differences than the similarities between the two areas of study. Grey area questions this very relationship (or lack thereof) and looks to encourage cross-pollination between the two streams through exposure, participation, understanding and appreciation.

Veiled in ambiguity, the call-out to the practicing designers was intentionally vague, encouraging a broad interpretation of the topic at hand and allowing for an interesting array of submissions. Showcasing everything from an exploding television video made with unused commercial footage, to more traditional graphic identities, to large-scale images of crushed pop cans, the show's work is as diverse as the opinions surrounding the question.

And these opinions are equally as important as the work. The designers start the conversation within the space, not only with the diverse selection of work, but with written statements articulating their stance on the Design/Art dichotomy. Printed large and bold, the statements' physical presence momentarily diverts the viewer's attention from the work, as a means of acknowledging the importance of the dialogue.

In the end, Grey area is not meant to definitively answer any questions, but rather to encourage further questions, more importantly perhaps "Can't we all just get along?"

Added by cwhardwi on July 4, 2007

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