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Artwork by Micah Lexier decorates walls of Bay Adelaide Centre in Toronto


January 5, 2017
by Canadian Architect

Photo by Tom Arban

Photo by Tom Arban

A new artwork is on display on the walls of the East Tower lobby at the Bay Adelaide Centre in Toronto. Commissioned by Brookfield Properties under the direction of art consultant Rina Greer, “Two Circles” by Micah Lexier is part of The City of Toronto’s Percent for Public Art Program.

Two circles of identical size, identically positioned on either end of the lobby. One circle is solid black, the other a thin, black outline. Viewed from afar, each circle reads as a perfect geometric shape on a smooth, white wall. As one gets closer, the work reveals itself to be far from perfect. It is an intricate, handmade ceramic tapestry rich with visual incident.

Photo by Tom Arban

Photo by Tom Arban

The entire surface, both circle and wall, is composed of individually crafted, hand-placed ceramic sticks. Each of the 830,000 sticks has been broken in half, generating more than 1.6 million discrete elements. These breaks create a kind of line drawing that is reminiscent of heartbeats, stock market graphs and sound waves. At one point in every row this line is disrupted, creating an even more intimate level at which the viewer can engage with the work.

Photo by Tom Arban

Photo by Tom Arban

A circle is a timeless and enduring form. It is of the scientific world and of the spiritual world. Through the use of scale, placement and materials, the universality of the circle is harnessed to create an artwork that holds a number of dichotomies in tension. It is at once simple and nuanced, monumental and intimate, visual and tactile, designed as much to be impactful from a distance as it is to be complex up close. ‘Two Circles” combines a subtle concept with painstaking fabrication to transform time, labour and humble materials into monumental form.