The models featured in this exhibition are made from a material that many of us will recognize. Building blocks that usually come in sets with complex instructions that culminate in all sorts of architectural wonders, imagined or real. Less familiar here will be the houses on which these particular models are based.
The artist, Paul Hetherington, has visited each of the buildings depicted in this exhibition, and using the standard building blocks available, recreated them, incorporating their surrounding landscapes, furniture, and even, art. Instead of step-by-step instructions, he has consulted original architectural plans and historical photographs in order to better incorporate all of their unique features. All but one of the original buildings are in West Vancouver and they each represent an important part of the history of design in the local community. With its steep terrain and ocean-fronted cliffs setting unusual challenges, architects have built extraordinary homes here. These homes are considered to have been created as a part of the design movement commonly called “West Coast Modern”. They were designed between 1941 and 1981, and despite their unusual qualities, also share common features, such as a desire to bring the outdoors in, to challenge the materials used in construction, and to situate the building appropriately on each site.
The West Vancouver Art Museum, who are co-presenting this exhibition with the West Vancouver Memorial Library, where it will be shown, has long been a champion of West Coast Modern design through its exhibitions, publications and public programs. While the medium utilised here may be playful, the primary objective of this project is a serious one. The West Coast Modern history of residential design encapsulated in West Vancouver is an important community legacy that should be celebrated and, where possible, preserved.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Paul Hetherington is an award-winning artist, whose creations are known around the world. He has a recognizable style that uses visual cues, artful building techniques, and a masterful use of color to tell stories in his creations. His creations have been featured in multiple books, magazines, news stories, and online blogs. In 2019, Hetherington was invited to display his work in the LEGO House Masterpiece Gallery in Billund. His creation “We Built This City” was on display there from 2019 until 2021. He grew up in West Vancouver and lives currently in North Vancouver.
The exhibition publication features essays by Paul Hetherington, Douglas Coupland, and Nathan Sawaya.
The Bricktacular West Coast Modern Show: Paul Hetherington
May 5 – July 31, 2023
West Vancouver Memorial Library
1950 Marine Drive
West Vancouver, BC