Urban Fabric, In Progress

YC Condos in Toronto

The inspiration for Urban Fabric is the architecture of the YC condo building with its language of repeated horizontals that are woven together with subtle contrasting colours and depths. These lines wrap the building in a ‘fabric’ of syncopated patterns. The canopy art glass is also a woven pattern of horizontals but has been skewed at an angle to the building as a counterpoint to the architecture’s rectilinear visual vocabulary. The colours also provide a counterpoint to the current muted colors of the building to suggest a lively interior life within the complex.


The other inspiration for Urban Fabric is the animation of the city itself. How to bring that city’s energy into the building façade through the art? Urban Fabric uses the ever changing existing light and the reflections of all the activity around to become animated and always surprising. Dichroic glass has a micro layer that filters out some wave lengths of light so they bounce back in reflection while allowing others to pass through. When there is more light behind the glass, we see the surroundings through a veil of colour and when there is more light in front of the glass, it reflects the movement around like a dusky mirror. The surroundings are seen as if through a fragmented, altered reality lens.

It isn’t enough for an art object to be beautiful; it has to engage us and change how we see our world. We are so visually saturated that art can become just more visual noise unless the brain is challenged to figure out something that ‘doesn’t compute’. I first discovered this phenomena when I combined two completely different images in alternating stripes so that the mind is engaged to understand something familiar but mysterious at the same time. Then I realized that if reflections and backgrounds are interspersed an even more complex challenge for the mind ensues. The added dimension is the movement in the reflection that appears and disappears as the viewer and objects move. The surroundings are disjointed; each panel, by being set on a different plane fragments the reflections of the surroundings with the mind filling in the gaps. All is seen through a veil of color further heightening the mystery and ‘otherness’.

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Urban Fabric, In Progress description
© Catherine Widgery