Central Library Mural – Calgary, Alberta

Starting around 1960, craft artists responded to new opportunities to create art for commercial and institutional buildings being erected across the country. Many of these buildings were in the International Style with large open foyers and outdoor plazas that called for touches of warmth to counterbalance the often sterile qualities of exposed concrete and metal. Involvement in these architectural projects was seen by craft artists as a more effective—and often more lucrative—way of making their work better known to the public and of advancing their status as professionals, in a manner similar to that of painters and sculptors…

…Robert Oldrich was one artist who promoted this approach. (See his article “The Craftsman in Canada” in Canadian Art, March/April 1961, p 129)… Oldrich created two of his most visible works in downtown Calgary, an enamel sculpture for the Calgary Public Library and a concrete façade for the Glenbow Museum.

-Allan Collier, The Modern Eye: Craft and Design in Canada 1940-1980
Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, July 22, 2011 – November 27, 2011

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