I visit Kara Hamilton in her fourth-floor studio in Toronto’s Distillery District. All around are objects from her wide-ranging practice—work inspired by UBC architecture studies and Yale art courses alike.
One shelf holds pieces of gold street jewellery that Hamilton has soldered into a shiny crown. On the floor is an electrified brass armature that reads, to me, as both lighting fixture and contemporary sculpture. Taped under a window is a picture of a recent public project: a wall of heavy Tyndall stone that Hamilton sited next to Winnipeg’s Assiniboine River, and punctured with two eye-shaped holes.
Hamilton can work across scales—and expose how scale often defines art versus design. In the studio, there’s a chunky silver earring dangling from the edge of a blush-coloured conch shell; a large copper sculpture of an eyelash disrupting a cool white wall; fused glass pieces whose colours clash as well as they combine.
Galleries from Berlin, New York, and Marfa have exhibited her work. And add to this curating under the banner of Kunstverein Toronto—just another thread in Hamilton’s rich and wide-ranging practice.
It can be a struggle, for many, to work across both the art and design fields. But it’s a challenge that I’m grateful Hamilton has undertaken.—Leah Sandals, managing editor, online