Arts & Culture

Matching local artists’ works with stunning home decor — Whitney Lewis-Smith

All too often, artwork is treated as an afterthought, chosen because it fits the available wall space or blends with the existing decor in a room. Here, we turn that idea on its head, choosing works of art that we dream of having on our walls — five pieces by five remarkable local artists. Let the wall art be the focal point, its mood and meaning guiding an array of furniture and decor that complement the stars of the room.

1. Tim desClouds: Dark themes and a red couch

2. Michael Harrington: Intense men and stormy ceramics

3. David Lidbetter: Landscapes and ravaged wood

WHITNEY LEWIS-SMITH

Transfix, 2018, Whitney Lewis-Smith
Transfix, 2018, Whitney Lewis-Smith

Though she has had the creative urge since childhood and studied painting and drawing at university, Lewis-Smith’s career also includes work as a scuba-diving instructor and marine researcher. It was following this period in her life that she started photographing underwater specimens. From there, she moved her camera above water, creating elaborate compositions of mainly dried floral bouquets teeming with insect life. Think of them as small, unique ecosystems. Or you can view them as jaw-droppingly gorgeous still-life black-and-white photographs referencing 17th-century Dutch Golden Era tableaux.

These days, Lewis-Smith can often be found in Mexico City, where she is working with like-minded colleagues in a 19th-century medium called heliogravure, which involves a rather complicated process of transferring photographic images to a copper plate from which prints can then be made. Lewis-Smith so adores the actual plates that she considers them works of art in their own right. With this process, Lewis-Smith’s work is evolving in new directions. Her previous environmentally themed photographs were restricted to plants and insects. She plans to add people referencing historical art figures. She has branded this new subject matter biophilia, a word describing humans’ wish to connect with nature and other forms of life.

The Art

Favourite colour: Burnt orange; second favourite, dark green.

Dream setting for her art: The home of a musician, like mournful Swedish balladeer Lykke Li, who has inspired her and, through her music, has seemingly followed her everywhere.

Find her work: St-Laurent + Hill Gallery, 293 Dalhousie St.

The Match

Copper rules the day. The Punk Table Lamp ($398, A Modern Space, 1150 Bank St.) and Falda copper-plated occasional table (from $1,018, Ligne Roset, 1165 Bank St.) complement the artwork. 

 

The Neva lounge chair by Artisan honours natural hues, setting off Lewis-Smith’s artwork and referencing the artist’s affinity for deep green. From $3,750. Alteriors, 1158 Bank St.