STREET OF HEAVEN
a new work by
Lisa Steele and Kim Tomczak
currently on display at WORKshop
in the exhibition STITCHES: Suzhou Fast Forward
80 Bloor St. West, lower concourse, Suite C1
Tuesday thru Saturday, noon to 6pm
October 26, 2011 – February 18, 2012
There is a myth about Yonge Street. Up until 1999, Yonge Street was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as being almost 1900 km long - the longest street in the world. This misunderstanding has been corrected. But the reality is still impressive. Stretching from the shores of Lake Ontario through the various "downtowns" and crossroads of the city of Toronto, through York region, Richmond Hill, Aurora, Newmarket, the Oak Ridges Moraine, traversing the Holland Marsh and ending, finally, just south of Lake Simcoe, Yonge Street is, in fact, 58 km in length.
Street of Heaven is a machine-made work of embroidery depicting the impressive topography of this landmark arterial road. Based on a digital satellite image, the dense cityscape of the city proper gives way to countryside with Yonge Street itself embroidered in gold thread. It is over six feet in length.
Street of Heaven references the traditional Suzhou style of embroidery in the "making of illusionistic scenes...(and) the representation of three-dimensional space" in that it takes the highly technical satellite image and renders it in shimmering colour onto cloth backing. Whereas the traditional Suzhou embroidery would be referencing a hand-drawn image of flowers or landscape, Street of Heaven, makes reference to the built environment of Toronto – not usually one that is associated with great beauty or the sublime. However, seen from high above the earth (literally one could say "from heaven"), the resulting imagery becomes an intricate landscape of infinite detail that emerges as the viewer approaches the work more closely but merges into blocks of gradient colour from a distance.
For further information about the exhibition STITCHES: Suzhou Fast Forward: