‘Canada Modern’ is a physical and digital archive of Canadian graphic design, with modernism central to its glowing heart. In its first ever exhibition, ‘Canada Modern’ features a selection of artefacts by trailblazing designers, active in the years 1960-85, who contributed to the emergence of Canada’s bold new visual identity during an exciting period of modernization for the nation. These designers honed their creativity and design philosophy through commercial work, as Canada experienced a cultural coming-of-age with major global events like Expo 67 and the 1976 Summer Olympics.
In the exhibition, a striking assortment of posters, publications, corporate identity, and ephemera come together to reveal a familiar sense of Canadian identity and belonging, with many recognizable symbols that have lasted in our national consciousness through to the present day. What we also find is a simple, utilitarian style of graphic communication that radiates confidence, warmth, and optimism. This design language has roots in the International Style, which arrived from Europe and fused with a freer North American expression to create a truly distinct Canadian aesthetic, both modern and human.
The exhibition is complemented by interpretations of the archive by young Canadian designers. Shelby Guergis’s design practice explores the visual language of nationhood and invites the public into a participatory experience of making a ‘democratic’ work. Juan Saavedra approaches design through the lens of queer theory, presenting an overlooked history of LGBTQ discrimination in the workplace in the era concerning the archive. Also on view are modernist-inspired works by guest American designers, Antonio Carusone of Aisle One / Superlunar and Julian Montague.
Exhibition is free and takes place at 313 Design Market.
In efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19, the exhibition will limit capacity to 3-4 guests at a time. When registering, please choose your date and time slot. We are using 30 min time slots as a safety precaution to allow for social distancing. However, as long as no other guests are waiting outside, we do encourage people to stay and take the time they need to enjoy the exhibition.
This venue requires all visitors to wear a face mask, use hand sanitizer, and practice social distancing.
Jo Minhinnett and Blair Thomson
Saturday, January 30, 12-6pm
Drop by to meet some of the people and artists behind the exhibition. All are welcome.