West Vancouver Museum – Shape of Things – Renée Van Halm

2017. 60″ x 48″. Acrylic on canvas.

People rarely appear in photographs featured in interior design magazines. Instead, carefully staged objects, such as an open book on a coffee table or a vase of flowers on a sideboard, are the only evidence of habitation, compelling readers to imagine themselves living amidst the sumptuous furnishings and spaces depicted.
In the 1950s and 60s, mainstream lifestyle magazines disseminated modernist architecture as a new and better way of living, integrating art, architecture, and design. A resurgent interest and examination of mid-century design through museum exhibitions, publications, and re-issued design classics, has popularized modern design, and the work of many architects and designers is now familiar and collected for prestige.
In Shape of Things, Renée Van Halm conflates images of modernist residential interiors and design objects drawn from secondary sources (magazines and books) into paintings that critically examine how modernist philosophy and practice, with its origins in Europe in the late 19th century, has endured despite inherent contradictions concerning comfort, accessibility, affordability, and practicality. …
Darrin Morrison, Director West Vancouver Museum