Flavio Tresivan’s wonderful map art is on display at the Koffler Gallery Off-Site at 80 Spadina Ave., Suite 501, until April 8.

Maps can come in many forms, and as many artists are experimenting with cartography recently, artistic interpretations of maps are similarly diverse. Many artists take maps and distort them to fit a more subjective relation to space than ordinary street maps offer. On the other side of this trend is Flavio Tresivan, who has chosen to remain relatively “objective” with his carto-art. Instead of distorting Toronto’s grid, he simply chooses one aspect of the city to highlight, and lets the to-scale street maps of Toronto do most of the talking.  Tresivan’s thoughtful choices allow beautiful patterns in the urban form and layered narratives emerge from his curation of Toronto’s streets.

The supposed objectivity of his maps is corrupted by the process by which he creates them. Hid beneath an aesthetic of computer rendering is a meticulous hands-on process whereby each of the straight lines that make up Toronto’s grid is the product of conscientious undertaking by Tresivan.

Tresivan is another example of locally-based Toronto geography-art, a genre I love for its interpretations of life in Toronto, and its intimate connection with the place it comes from.

Here are some of my favourite examples of his work:

The Knife between College and Dundas 2011

Tresivan reveals the whimsical shapes embedded in Toronto’s urban form, and by isolating them and designating them with a playful title, re-imagines the possibilities of Toronto’s otherwise straight-grid.

West End Dead Ends Blue 2010

Highlighting dead-ends offers the opportunity to dwell on the endless stories that must play out in these end-spaces.

 (Up down, side to side, round and round) 2010

My favourite of Tresivan’s — isolating the geometries of Toronto’s grid and juxtaposing them side-by-side offers another alternative Toronto reality.

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