On the ride home, Margaret’s dp/editor Moira Simpson and I chatted about the changes that have occurred on Robson Street post-Expo ’86, one of which concerned the passage of Semmens and Simpson’s Vancouver Public Library Main Branch (1957) into a Virgin Records, then an HMV, and now an empty storefront.
What we could not remember was the name of the artist who made the building's exterior sculpture.
After returning home I received an email from Moira informing me that the artist was not an artist but artists -- Lionel and Patricia Thomas -- and that the name of the work is Symbols of the Cueniforms (1957).
Something else that came up during our conversation was Modernism’s arrival in Vancouver, a topic I wrote on in Vancouver Art & Economies (Artspeak/Arsenal Pulp, 2007) -- in particular, Alvin Balkind and Abraham Rogatnick’s New Design Gallery, the Lower Mainland’s first contemporary modern commercial art gallery, which opened in West Vancouver in 1955.
Below is another work by Lionel and Patricia Thomas, their mural for the Super-Valu at West Vancouver’s Park Royal Mall (c. 1960).