In Calgary, Exploring the Cultural Side of ‘Cowtown’
I didn’t have to wander far down Ninth Avenue SE, though, before stumbling upon DaDe ART & DESIGN LAB. It was setting up for an opening featuring the work of Darcy Lundgren, who covers large surfaces with shredded recycled paper and splashes them with paint, suggesting vertical lawns that invite the viewer to touch. An art gallery, furniture store and design company sprawled over 3,000 square feet in what appeared to be a chic garage, DaDe shows off local and international artists.
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september 20 - november 02, 2014
TBD explores proc·ess - a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end.
over the course of the exhibit - preview the inspiration and evolution of the work, breakthrough moments, borrowed elements, crucial revisions, and bold decisions.
opening reception friday september 19 | 6:00 pm
closing reception sunday november 02 | 1:00 - 5:00 pm
Artist-designer Darcy Lundgren makes lasting treasures out of something we disregard.
For most of us, junk mail gets little more than a passing glance en route to the recycling bin. But, back in 2005, visual artist and residential home designer Darcy Lundgren saw greater potential in the mounds of flyers and other unsolicited print material that continuously clogged his mailbox.
Tasked with creating an “art-gallery feel” for a showhome, Lundgren created a large-scale contemporary acrylic painting on a backdrop of shredded junk mail.
The distinctive, hyper-textured work became the first in an ongoing series that has since become a calling card for Lundgren, who works out of Inglewood-based DaDe ART & DESIGN LAB alongside partner Greg Fraser. Most of the subsequent pieces hang in private residences, though one large-scale artwork is currently installed in the foyer of downtown’s Charcut Roast House.
The inspiration for Lundgren’s series follows the philosophies of the reclaimed art movement espoused by figures such asBritish artist-designer Stuart Haygarth, who creates multimedia works out of found objects. The same thinking inspired Lundgren and Fraser to create a striking floor-to-ceiling sculpture made entirely of empty Evian water bottles.
“The whole series started developing by collecting recycled paper and junk mail just from our household and realizing there was such enormous amounts of it,” Lundgren says. “I was trying to figure out what to do with it, other than send it to recycling. Shredding it and using it as texture for my pieces just came together quite naturally, and it has been really quite beautiful."
To see more of Lundgren's work,
visit DaDe ART & DESIGN LAB, 1327 9 avenue SE
Darcy Lundgren - designer, artist and co-owner of DaDe ART & DESIGN LAB - has certainly made good use of his junk mail. He created a custom piece a few years ago out of shredded postal refuse glued and layered onto a canvas, which he then drizzled with paint. The result was a textural painting that gave rise to a whole show of works in a similar style.
The exhibit’s title, “Environment,” has a couple of meanings. The first, and most immediately apparent as you tour the 20 or so canvasses by Lundgren, is environmental awareness — turning something wasteful into a work of art.
“The epitome of what I see as a negative for the planet are things like empty water bottles and junk mail,” explains Lundgren. Referring to that first catalyzing painting, he says, “It’s all junk mail minus newsprint and recycled paper, and it just started developing with layers of paint and layers of paper all combining.”
“Environment” also refers to our surroundings. “I starting thinking about not just being environmental, but what’s going in our little bubble right now,” says Lundgren. This train of thought underpinned another artistic choice you’ll see in many canvasses — stencilled symbols, such as “&” and “#,” layered on top of the multicoloured swoops of paint. “Symbols for words are becoming so much the way we communicate back and forth on our cellphones,” explains Lundgren.
Amid the paintings, which were all executed in a similar style but with varied results, the standout piece is one that Lundgren created several years ago called “H2O.” The tall, chandelier-like sculpture is premised on the reuse of another disposable item — glass Evian water bottles. The striking piece is a good fit for both uses of the term “Environment,” not only because of the number of bottles ending up in landfills, but also because of their ubiquity in contemporary consumer culture.
Some of the inspiration for the show came from a recent trip to the Wynwood Arts District in Miami, Florida. While Lundgren had already developed his junk mail technique, he saw kindred approaches to art at the Wynwood galleries. “I found a lot of artists down there are very much in this kind of vocabulary movement as well, where they’re taking found objects, recycling objects, salvaging objects, taking old floppy disks — you name it,” he explains. “It’s fresh and unique. There are so many different things nowadays that have become irrelevant that were very relevant 10 or 20 years ago that are still floating around, like VHS tapes and things like that.”
He adds, “It’s kind of like seeing our world in a different way, seeing things that we used before so readily, completely reinterpreted in a different way. For me, there’s beauty in everything if you try to look for it.”
1. the aggregate of surrounding things, conditions, or influences; surroundings.
2. the air, water, minerals, organisms, and all other external factors surrounding and affecting a given organism at any time.
3. the social and cultural forces that shape the life of a person or a population.
Taking inspiration from minimalism & modernism, Darcy creates one of a kind, thought provoking, and often environmentally conscious abstract works. Repurposing collections of normally overlooked objects into finished pieces, taking various forms from canvas, sculpture & installations.
four letter word (!&*?)
60" x 60"
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Taking inspiration from minimalism & modernism, Darcy's artwork is created as one of a kind, thought provoking, and often environmentally friendly abstract pieces. Lundgren's works are experiments in traditional as well as non-traditional mediums, ranging from acrylics & oils to the tactile Jackson Pollock inspired shredded paper. While his sculptural work has been inspired by the works of Stuart Haygarth. Repurposing collections of normally overlooked objects into finished pieces, taking various forms from chandeliers, installations, functional and sculptural pieces.