Toronto Through My Lens

Condo Sculptures

Sculptor Shayne Dark, a Kingston native, has three sculptures which dot Toronto’s downtown condo landscape.

I. Double Vision

Double Vision is located on the northwest corner of Jarvis and Charles streets in front of X Condominium at 558 Jarvis Street. The huge red poles jutting out of the sidewalk bring to mind bamboo shoots.

II. Double Take

Just across the street, at 101 Charles Street East in front of The X’s younger sister building X2, sits Double Take. It is characterized by the same monumental poles, but this time they are slightly slanted toward Double Vision as if the two pieces are communicating. You have to be careful when you come out of Rabba at this site, as you could potentially brain yourself or take one of these in the eye… not the best way to appreciate the artwork.

It’s an interesting project because there’s a dialogue between the two pieces across the road from one another. You’ve got the red vertical sticks, then you’ve got the blue horizontal ones and it sets up a dynamic and creates a threshold. They are engaging both in their own right and also with one another. They engage in an interesting artistic and architectural discussion,

Brad Golden, a Toronto public art consultant whose job it is to partner with developers and organizations to help them figure out what kind of art would work for their space.

III. Nova

Shayne Dark’s third condo-based sculpture, Nova, is located at the Tableau Condominium at 125 Peter Street. The piece is completely incorporated into the structure of the building.

“Nova” photo by UrbanToronto

Shayne Dark’s Inspiration For The Pieces

Initially, we’d walk in the forest or along the lakeshore and I’d find these interesting found objects, like a big pile of sticks and pieces of driftwood, and these became my art practice. I think for any artist, where you live is so important. Being Canadian at this point in history, on this day, in this time is an experience and feeling I want to document. I feel where you’re from can not help but influence every artist’s practice to some degree.

The “One Percent Solution”

“Under Section 37 of Ontario’s Planning Act, developers are allowed to have taller buildings or more units and other such concessions in exchange for putting a minimum of one per cent of the project’s construction costs toward public art. The art can either be on-site, on city property nearby, or a combination of both. The guidelines set out by the program ensure that the art is of public benefit and is also visible, accessible and adds to the urban character of the city in a positive way.

Financial investment is a huge factor for anyone who makes their living as a sculptor. Shayne Dark, the artist, says it costs literally tens of thousands of dollars to manufacture the materials necessary to make those big public art projects you might see as part of a condominium development.

‘Those jobs in Canada are few and far between. But luckily, what ended up happening in a few major Canadian cities was this one percent rule where if you were a developer working on a public building, a portion of the construction costs would actually go to art,’ says Shayne Dark”.1

1Storeys, Real Estate News

3 Comments

  1. David

    I did not know about the one percent solution. I guess that is what happened at 1 Bloor East with the huge oil like drums sticking out of the ground.

    • Marvin Job

      Good point. Since I learned about the 1% solution, I’ve noticed how many new condos have a major piece of artwork out front. Interesting.

  2. Condo Services

    Marvelous insight into Shayne Dark’s impactful sculptures and their interplay within Toronto’s urban fabric. It’s fascinating to see how public art fosters community dialogue and beautifies spaces. Kudos to Marvin Job for shedding light on this transformative aspect of city life. Thank you for the enlightening read!

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