Exhibition Archives

Comfortable Modernism

A selection of handmade tapestries designed by Canadian sculptors and painters in the mid-1970s, intended to be displayed in commercial and public spaces.

In the spring of 1975, Fay Loeb of Toronto initiated the tapestry project in response to the often cold and stark common areas found in commercial and public buildings. The idea was to bring visual and physical warmth to these spaces by providing cost effective, large-scale works that could withstand the wear and tear of high-traffic areas. Over the course of the following two years, Loeb commissioned 23 tapestries of designs by sculptors and painters from across the country.

Trial fabrications were completed by skilled artisans in Mexico using a punch hooking method with a hand-guided, single-needle implement, allowing the artisan to complete approximately one square foot of the tapestry per day. The slow and painstaking shearing to achieve the cut pile heights, as well as the carved effects, was also done by hand after loose tufts were secured on the back with a layer of brushed latex. All trial fabrications were approved by the artists, including the choice of colour, commercially dyed to specification and adjusted as many times as was necessary. The completed tapestries were made available to the public in 25 editions and showcase designs made specifically for this medium, while reflecting the artists' work in other media. The complete set of 23 artists' proof wall hangings belonging to the Confederation Centre Art Gallery's permanent collection are a gift from Mr. and Mrs. Jules Loeb.

Jill McRae, Curator
October 28, 2016 - April 9, 2017

Michael Snow, Untitled, 1976, acrylic fibre tapestry