Simons' original in store art piece blends traditional and futuristic ideas

Simons, the 175-year-old family-owned fashion retailer from Quebec City,  unveiled a permanent piece by Canadian artist Brendan Tang when its Square One location opened in March 2016. Raincity Robot is a sculpture made of a traditionally-inspired Chinese vase adorned with robotic prosthetics at its base, marrying historical and contemporary cultural inspirations. The sculpture, made of fibreglass, is 10 ½ feet tall and will sit at the top of the escalator of Simons’ two- storey location at Square One. It will be visible from  the main level at many points through a large atrium that links the two floors.

“My artistic practice embodies the influences, tensions and contradictions that define the postmodern world,” said Tang. “I hope that my piece will not only be a source of pride and engagement for Simons’ customers and employees, but will add a new voice to the public art dialogue of Mississauga.”

Raincity Robot’s vase form is a nod to the former Four Sisters stacks at the Lakeview Generation station. The robotic barnacles reference the lakeside geography and technological industry of the Mississauga region.

“We invest in art for all of our stores because people enjoy beautiful spaces whether to work or shop or simply explore,” said Simons’ CEO Peter Simons. ”Brendan Tang’s work is particularly exciting because it blends traditional and futuristic ideas, which is a concept we embrace at Simons.”

Raincity Robot is the newest and largest of Brendan Tang’s Manga Ormolu series which is a futuristic update of 18th century gilded vessels (ormolu) using robotic prosthetics inspired by Japanese animation and comics (manga).

Brendan Tang is a Vancouver-based artist who immigrated to Canada from Ireland with his Trinidadian parents when he was a child. He spent part of his childhood in Burlington before moving to Vancouver Island.