Owen Johnson. Moorish Translation No. 5 (detail), 2014. Glass murrine, fused and coldworked. Photo by Dominic Tschudin.

Geo-Abstract

Owen Johnson, Pasha Moezzi, Kristian Spreen, Devon Thom

Curated by Curated by Melanie Egan & Patrick Macaulay

June 1 – June 1, 2020FREE
Hours

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“As a mode of perception or a process of creation, geometry is clearly a significant intermediary both for making and seeing…”
– Oleg Grabar

The basic building blocks of geometry are used to investigate the material properties of objects and their spatial presence. Historically, geometry has always been prevalent in craft and design and continues to be the basis for wide-ranging exploration. Geometric design (lines, planes, curves, etc.) allow for freedom of interpretation and multiple readings. Shapes and patterns are clearly defined, even accessible but meaning is often equivocal and abstract. Is geometric design representational, symbolic, a signifier or perhaps just a desire for measurement and rational proportions?

– Melanie Egan, Head, Craft & Design and Patrick Macaulay, Director, Visual Arts

PROFILES

Owen Johnson

Geometric pattern is an enigmatic and non-utilitarian human extravagance that holds great power and great expression. Historically this expression carries with it a ‘spirit’ of reverence, harmony and a sense of the infinite and because of this, geometry has often been used within religious and public architecture and art.

The three works presented in this exhibition are the latest in two separate series that have been developing within my practice for some time from two very different patterns. Both patterns have been ‘mistranslated’ for this purpose, but each pattern – one the pattern commonly know as Paisley, and the other an Islamic design sourced from Granada in Spain – has experienced the impact of geometry in a different manner.

The artworks I have created explore new abstract rhythms for both patterns, exposing each pattern to forms of geometric order or abstract chaos outside of their historical contexts, searching for new expressive possibilities.

– Owen Johnson

Owen Johnson’s practice examines pattern from a position of passionately informed irreverence, challenging 20th century practices of appropriation by exploring historically significant ornamental pattern structures and motifs. Each pattern is ‘mistranslated’ into the material language of glass, a process that changes its context, allowing each artwork to examine unlikely abstract rhythms, pushing the boundaries of each pattern’s experience.

Now residing in Toronto, Johnson grew up in Australia. He completed a BA in Glass at the Australian National University and an Honours in Visual Art at Monash University, before recently receiving a Ph.D from the Royal College of Art (London, UK).

owenjohnsonart.com

 

Pasha Moezzi

A successful piece of jewellery is not one that necessarily has the most expensive material and gemstones, but one that has a unique and significant design.

I was born and raised in a culture where ornamentation and excessive decoration were preferred. However, I chose a more reductive aesthetic for my work cultivated through my training in the world of art and design.

My designs refrain from overt decoration and are about subtracting elements from an existing form. It is very satisfying to create objects using clean lines and simple geometric forms that communicate their message through minimalism.

– Pasha Moezzi

Pasha Moezzi is an emerging jewellery artist residing in Toronto. He obtained his Fine Arts diploma from Langara College (Vancouver) and later completed his BFA in Design Arts at Concordia University (Montreal). His true passion for jewellery emerged while working at his father’s furniture-making workshop where he made jewellery out of scrap metal. He then pursued goldsmith training at George Brown College and graduated from the Jewellery Arts program in 2015.

Moezzi’s work has a unique style influenced by industrial shapes and architectural forms, which is evident in both his one-of-a-kind work and his production lines. He has won several awards and competitions, and has particpated in solo and group exhibitions in Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto and Tehran. Moezzi became an Artist-in-Residence at Harbourfront Centre in 2015.

pashamoezzi.com

 

Kristian Spreen

These works represent an exploration of form interpreted through a geometric filter. Common shapes of objects have been observed and manipulated, evolving the forms into something new. Curved profiles are simplified to straight lines and angles. Surfaces of fluid forms are translated into straight edges and facets. Two-dimensional shapes such as triangles and pentagons are imposed on three-dimensional forms. Rather than having an objective role in the process, the decisions made by the maker, regarding the shape and number of planes determines how closely the new shape resembles the original form. The fewer the number of sides used to describe a form, the less it resembles the original. This can be seen as a loss of information or a different approach to describing form.

– Kristian Spreen

Kristian Spreen is originally from Brampton, Ontario. She graduated from Sheridan College in the Craft and Design Program in 2015 and is currently an Artist-in-Residence at Harbourfront Centre. Prior to pursuing an artistic career, Spreen earned an Honours Bachelor of Science from the University of Toronto, where she studied psychology and biology. Her enthusiasm for new experiences drives her to seek novel ways of working with glass and reflects a tendency to look for solutions in situations involving seemingly opposing elements. By combining organic and geometric elements, she makes work that achieves a balance between controlled and spontaneous expression.

kristianspreen.ca

 

Devon Thom

Geometry serves as a constant source of inspiration for my practice. This body of work is influenced by the geometry of crystalline structures. I appreciate how seemingly random and disorganized rough gem material appears to be, but on a microscopic level crystals are built of repeating molecules that arrange into perfect geometric configurations. With this collection I challenged myself to present form in an abstract way – juxtaposing outwardly complex rough gemstones against simple geometric compositions.

– Devon Thom

Devon Thom was born and raised in Vancouver. In 2015, she graduated with Honours from the Jewellery Arts Program at George Brown College in Toronto.

As an emerging designer and maker, Thom’s work is greatly inspired by geometric formations that surround us – from microscopic crystalline structures to classically proportioned architecture. Jewellery has provided her with an intimate outlet for the exploration of these forms. Her work exhibits a balance between fine goldsmithing, digital technology and classical design principles.

Thom currently resides in Toronto. She was accepted as an Artist-in-Residence at Harbourfront Centre and awarded a scholarship in 2015.

devonthom.com

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