Toronto artist Anne Winter offers a unique look at urban design and how it affects our daily lives with her brilliantly constructed tile, metal and glass art. To learn more about this artist’s intriguing work, visit her website.
I am a lifelong resident of Toronto, Canada. I am particularly interested in how cities are designed and how good urban planning can have a positive impact on our day-to-day lives.
Although the focus of my art is primarily on observations made here in my own city, the topics I explore are certainly not unique to Toronto. In an increasingly urbanized world, cities large and small are facing similar challenges.
Preserving our farmland by reining in urban sprawl, building compact walkable communities that enable us to lessen our dependency on the car, and connecting to suburbia with easily accessed public transit are some of the topics addressed in my work.
Cities are in transition and how we tackle these and related issues will determine which cities fail and which ones thrive.
The artwork, which is mostly seen from an aerial vantage point, reveals patterns and complexities inherent in urban land use. Constructed from thousands of pieces of tile, glass and metal, the materials are cut, shaped and adhered to a wood base. Each work takes approximately five months to complete.
I begin each piece with multiple sketches done on tracing paper. Each sketch advances the design to the point where I feel ready to embark on the panel itself. As in urban planning, I build the “infrastructure” of the design first by using metal strips to delineate roads and transit lines.
But just as cities evolve over time and sometimes in unexpected ways, my finished work can also look quite different from the initial sketches. I worked as an Architectural Technologist for a number of years before having the opportunity to return full-time to making art. The drafting and construction skills acquired over those years have had a big impact on how I approach my current work.
As cities become denser, as they must, fewer and fewer parcels of land remain available for development. Exciting opportunities exist for “creative densification.” This is the topic I am presently working on.
I view each piece in this body of work to date as a chapter in an ongoing visual story that examines and interprets issues facing cities today.
It is a story I began thirty years ago in a different medium with observations about urban design that interested me at that time. Some of those issues are still relevant today.
Artist Anne Winter invites you to follow her on Facebook.