Artist James Koester is part of a contemporary design movement in Vancouver for functional life-style artworks. He is a 1988 Emily Carr College of Art graduate and his work has since been included in numerous exhibits at the Canadian Craft Museum in Vancouver. Koesterís sculptures are charming yet pleasingly odd. They have been described as ìobject-makingî. He uses illogical and obscure combinations of materials to build totems and towers, candelabra and lamps. His metal lamps appear apocalyptic with their crusty metal finishes, but are electrically lit from inside through cutouts with shapes reminiscent of Wingdings. A strong, persistent black contour line runs through almost every piece, supporting the objects in the form of spindly black metal legs, thin stands or delicate handles. They actually look more vulnerable than coy ñ as if they might scamper back into dark corners at any moment. Advance imagery for this 1999 exhibition suggests he will be showing images that are closer to ìpicturesî on the wall. They have simple grounds with solitary emblems ñ a leaf or quotation mark ó or short phrases. The latter are beautifully handwritten in the curvy French school style of The Little Prince.
© Mia Johnson