Architecture informs art in Glendon Gallery’s latest exhibition

The latest art exhibition at the Glendon Gallery opened on Jan. 19 and carries the intriguing title of Spatial Networks. This is the first exhibition of architect, designer and artist Charles Beamish, who created a set of eight works specifically for this exhibition.

Above: Artist Charles Beamish in front of Cold Front, on display at the Glendon Gallery

“Through these pieces, I investigate the overlap of painting, sculpture and architecture, to study the potential for three-dimensionality within painting that provides actual and implied spatial experiences," says Beamish.

Choosing to follow the early 20th-century Modernist movement in art and using today’s tools, Beamish has created a series of spontaneous responses to time and space, which are based on the idea of implied and real movement.

Several of the pieces on display utilize mirrored insets, reflecting the viewer as well as other points in the room. “Mirrors become spatial points along a linear experience of the piece,” says Beamish, “while other features imply a space within a space, such as the forms within the yellow paintings.”

Reflecting his architectural background, Beamish says he designed some of the pieces to fit specific architectural features of the room. The centrepoint of the exhibit, which is on view as soon as one enters the gallery, is a work titled Exploded Cube. It is based on a cube modelled on a computer. The three-dimensional figure was then fragmented, with the aid of the computer, into spatial points and unravelled into a horizontal display representing all the elements of the original cube. The other pieces on display are the “next generation” emerging from this original work.

Beamish says that he examined several features during this process, such as the effects of the speed of movement and the colours generated, and how different densities of the elements resulted in different speeds and variable colour choices.

In fact, colours play an important part in each work’s effect. The peaceful yellows and golds of Yellow Space provide a pleasant juxtaposition to the deep and serious Blue Black Space. Bridged Space, with its white background and mirrored insets, is a cheerful, playful piece reflecting the viewer and the canvases nearby. Cold Front, the only other work with a specific title, provides a continuous surface and three-dimensionality eliciting reflection not only in the visual, but also in the cerebral sense.

Right: Beamish’s Bridged Space

“Computer space is artificial – virtual, consisting of light and digital information. Now that the paintings are on display, they gain a phenomenal reality composed of smells, sounds, plasticity and the reactions of the visitors,” says Beamish. He explains that he had a three-dimensional model of the room and placed each piece before the actual mounting of the exhibition. “When it came to putting them up, the gallery staff, under the direction of curator Marc Audette and I, found that what worked was a completely different layout.

“The nature of how we interact with space has always interested me,” adds Beamish. “How we use space, how we relate to paintings, how spatial effects can happen outside of, as well as within a work of art, such as depth, movement and architectural elements.”

Spatial Networks is on display at the Glendon Gallery until Feb. 25. For gallery hours and directions, visit the Glendon Gallery Web site. For more information on this and other exhibits, contact Martine Rheault, coordinator of artistic & cultural affairs, at 416-487-6859 or

More about Charles Beamish

Beamish has worked as chief designer and project manager of several building projects, including transit facilities, office buildings, and educational, residential, health-care and performing arts construction projects across Ontario. He has overseen the production of various facilities from schematic design to the completion of construction. He also designs and builds cedar-strip canoes.

Submitted by Glendon communications officer Marika Kemeny