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Street of Heaven, 2011

This piece of art was digitized and embroidered by Stitchy Lizard for artists Steele and Tomczak. We were very fortunate to have been chosen by Lisa Steele and Kim Tomczak to work with them on this project.


(Click Here to Enlarge)
Street of Heaven Toronto(Click Here to Enlarge)


Street of Heaven, 2011

Machine-embroidered banner, 76 in long x 15 in wide

There is a myth about Yonge Street. The myth says that Yonge Street is the longest street in the world, that it is almost 1900 km long. Up until 1999, Yonge Street was even listed in the Guinness Book of World Records.

The reality is still impressive. Stretching from the shores of Lake Ontario through the various "downtowns" and crossroads of the city of Toronto, through York region, Richmond Hill, Aurora, the Oak Ridges Moraine, traversing the Holland Marsh and ending, finally, in Barrie, Ontario. Yonge Street is, in fact, 58 km in length.

We have created an embroidered banner comprised of six 1' x 1' panels depicting the impressive topography of this landmark arterial road. The work is based on satellite images of the entire stretch of Yonge Street, showing the dense cityscape of the city proper (depicted through shades of blue/grey) giving way to countryside (depicted in shades of green), with the street itself embroidered
in gold thread.

THE IMAGERY
We see this work referencing the traditional Suzhou style of embroidery in the making of illusionistic scenes…(and) the representation of three-dimensional space" in that it takes the highly technical satellite image and renders it inshimmering colour onto cloth backing. Whereas the traditional Suzhou embroidery would be referencing a hand-drawn image of flowers or landscape, Street of Heaven, makes reference to the built environment of Toronto – not usually one that is associated with great beauty or the sublime. However, seen from high above the earth (literally one could say "from heaven"), the resulting imagery becomes an intricate landscape of infinite detail that emerges as the viewer approaches the work more closely but merges into blocks of gradient colour from a distance.

THE PRODUCTION TECHNIQUE
Rather than attempting to construct a work of hand embroidery, we have created a work with an industrial process – a commercial embroidery machine, the kind of used to produce insignias on sports teams' jackets and caps. We see this type of production to be aligned with the image source – a highly
sophisticated imaging system located in a satellite encircling the earth. It is also mirrors the contemporary need for "speed", as both anticipated and supplied by such services as satellite mapping where a user can gain access to distant views at the click of a keystroke.

http://www.steeleandtomczak.com/Video/street_of_heaven.html

(Click on the Pictures to Enlarge)

Street of Heaven Toronto Street of Heaven Toronto
Street of Heaven Toronto Street of Heaven Toronto
Street of Heaven Toronto
Street of Heaven Toronto

(Click on the Pictures to Enlarge)

About the Artists

Lisa Steele and Kim Tomczak, winners, 2005 Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts

Lisa Steele + Kim Tomczak have worked exclusively in collaboration since 1983, producing videotapes, performances and photo/text works. They have received numerous grants and awards including the Bell Canada prize for excellence in Video Art, a Toronto Arts Award and in 2005, a Governor General's Award for lifetime achievement in Visual & Media Arts. They were awarded an Honourary Doctorate by the University of British Columbia (Okanagan) in 2009.

Major public art commissions include Love Squared, (2006) screened on the video board at Yonge & Dundas in Toronto and Watertable (2009), a light and sound installation that marks the original shoreline of Lake Ontario at the foot of historic Fort York.

 

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