During the holidays I stopped in at a used book store and came across a wonderful photography book by Canadian artist, Roloff Beny. ‘To Every Thing There is a Season: Roloff Beny in Canada’ is a photographic essay exploring Canada during the 1960′s. The book contains poems, landscapes, portraits, architecture, and graphic design that is visionary for the time it was printed. Like a Boards of Canada album, the book puts my mind in a cozy, nostalgic place.
A little research reveals that the book was the official Canadian gift to visiting heads of state during the country’s 1967 centennial year. He’s also authored a number of other acclaimed photography books I’m hoping to pick-up in the near future.
Beny’s work is included in the collections of The Metropolitan Museum and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Gallery of Canada and the Art Gallery of Ontario. In 1971, he was made an officer of The Order of Canada. In 1984, at the age of 60, Beny passed away from a heart attack in his Roman studio overlooking the Tiber.
You can view a more complete set of photos in this FLICKR SET I put together.
Starting in 1966, Can-Am was an idealistic series conceived by the SCCA and its Canadian counterpart, CASC. Running under FIA Group 7 rules, it was as open as a series could get, essentially a formula libre format with the chassis weight and horsepower being, for all intents and purposes, unlimited. If the the tires weren’t exposed and it had 2 seats, you could race it. It was popular among drivers and enthusiasts, the likes of Keke Rosberg, Gilles Villeneuve, and even Paul Newman being regulars at the meets.
While this format led to some interesting technological developments and some truly oddball designs, it also opened the door to the inevitable: 1,000+HP engines bolted to cars that proved to be as unsafe as they were powerful. Lola & McLaren dominated the front 9 of the first era, the latter half saw the introduction and subsequent perfection of the Porsche 917, which nearly spelled the end of the series as they were unbeatable by non-works sponsored teams.
Some notable offspring of the early Can-Am years included heavy experimentation with aerodynamics and downforce, particularly Jim Hall’s Chaparral cars. The 2J, or “sucker car” [seen above in b&w bearing the number 66] used a series of skirts and a small 2 stroke engine which powered 2 fans aft of the vehicle. This combination of parts cobbled together [on what I feel is one of the ugliest race cars ever produced] created a unique type of ground effect, one which didn’t require moving air over the car, meaning that downforce in excess of 1.5g could be accomplished at any speed. When it was actually working, it qualified 2 seconds faster than the closest car, and was quickly banned.
The late 1970′s saw the waning series combined with then thriving Formula 5000 category, allowing teams to convert single-seat, open wheeled tubs into closed-wheel sports cars. While less popular in the long run, it encouraged many more teams to compete and led to a truly unique chapter of motorsport, as well as some really good looking cars. This modest resurgence continued until the dominance IMSA/Camel & CART took over as the format of choice in the 80′s.
It would be difficult to understate the influence of Lawren Harris’ abstract landscapes on Canadian identity. As a founding member of The Group of Seven, Harris pioneered a distinctly Canadian school of art that departed from European contemporaries of the same era. Minimal in texture and detail, his grandiose landscapes use sweeping curves and simplified abstract forms to capture a wider, almost spiritual representation of a landscape.
Fairly covering Harris’ entire career in a single blog post is tricky, but what I’ve presented here are the some of his best known works from Northern Ontario (Lake Superior) in the 1920′s and the Rocky Mountains and Arctic during the 1930′s. I’ve also provided a look at some of the more abstract, but less celebrated work he painted during the late 1930′s and 40′s. Overall, I find most of what he painted during these years to imbue a remarkable sense of modernism, and something I’m hoping readers of ISO50 can appreciate.
I know some of you are most likely familiar with the Group of Seven and Lawren Harris, but if not I would love to know what you think and if you find the work inspiring.
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There’s always that one song every year that whispers summer is over, time to preparing for hibernation. Andy Stott delivered that song this week, he’s in that excellent position of knowing what to play for a crowd but also in the studio has complete control of beautiful ambience. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
The Canadians have been owning independent music in 2012, mainly Montreal, the latest collab comes from CFCF and Austra, with their cover of David Bowie, this is a good example of what I think the Bat For Lashes album is missing, the theatrics are there but the sound plays a bit better with a bit more substance.
If anyone missed this thoughtful Four Tet remix od The Xx I wanted to make sure you had a chance with it, he has been simplifying his production lately and its giving his sound new life.
Wareika is a go to for all my DJ sets, everything is brought in slowly like its feeling out if its going to work, the vox isn’t sterile nor diva-ish which lately have been drowning the House scene.
Jack Chambers (1931-1970) was a Canadian painter and filmaker who shifted from surrealist to photo-realist during his career. I was turned on to Chambers’ work via this article in Walrus Magazine about his unfinished masterpiece, Lunch (1971), which after working on for ten years, Chambers died before completing.
Chambers completed six films between 1960 and 1970, I tried to find footage online from one, The Hart of London, but they were taken down. I did find some excerpts from a movie about Chambers’ work and life here.
Stumbled onto this interesting find while putting together the CN logo post. The CN Turbotrain was a high-speed train build in the late 1960′s. Really interesting lines and I loving the paint on these. I think that last one (B&W) is some earlier version or prototype.
Last week I posted on the NASA logo and suggested that it might be the most iconic logo of our time. In the comments, Design+Conquer begged to differ and reminded me of an equally perfect logo. The CN logo was designed by Allan Fleming and James Valkus for the Canadian National Railway in 1960. Being an American I’ve had limited exposure to the mark, but every time I’ve come across it (usually on trains passing through when I lived in Sacramento) I’ve always been stricken by it’s minimal perfection.
If you haven’t heard yet (I heard via Rough Trades twitter) that the warehouse of PIAS UK distribution(music distributor to over 150 indie labels) burnt down during the London riots, the only info I have found is the statement below, I hope all the indie music lovers out there can chip in and help out during this huge loss.
“I have no doubt that if you’re here you’ll have heard the news that the PIAS distribution centre in Enfield has been burnt down during the London riots. What you may not be aware of is that the warehouse contained the physical stock for most of Britain’s Indie records labels. The subsequent loss of income and cash flow problems that this act of mindless vandalism will bring about may well be enough to push many of the smaller operators out of business.
Our aim is to try and rally the music industry, both on the artist and the audience sides, and see if we can raise some money to see those affected through the tough times ahead.
This is just a holding page at the moment but more details will be posted here as and when we have them. In the meantime, if you would like to get involved or contribute in any way please drop us an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org” – PIAS benefit
This distributor was home to many labels listed below
Full Time Hobby
Secretly Canadian / Jagjaguwar / Dead Oceans
Touch And Go
(and many many more)