Diane Daniels | Square Plumb and Level


Diane Daniels

September 4 – October 4, 2014

Opening Reception: September 6, 2:00 – 4:00pm

Supercrawl: September 12-14, 2014

(1) Passage


Square, Plumb and Level is an installation of architecturally informed components concerned with the process of constructing and inhabiting our built environment.

This work has its origins with a 65 year old blueprint drawn by Daniels’ father of their Hamilton family home. The house is one of three that he designed and created.

Despite being neither an architect or a builder, Daniels’ father persistently created “things”; a table saw and sawdust in their basement was completely normal. She understood that accuracy of intention and calculation could influence the outcome of the project at hand. Within this environment Daniels’ first encountered the components, tools, and practices of building that would become a defining aspect of her practice.

Daniels’ intention with this installation is to relate the fundamental principle of precision to a broader notion of building (homes, lives, cities) by speaking about fidelity in the process of creating the structures of our lives.

“ By drawing a diagram, a ground plan of a house, a street

plan to the location of a site, or a topographic map, one

draws a ’logical two dimensional picture’. A ‘logical picture’

differs from a natural or realistic picture in that it rarely

looks like the thing it stands for.”

                        – Robert Smithson, The Collected Writings

Artist Statement:

Architecture has influenced my work since the late 1980s. My focus is the process of constructing and inhabiting our built environment. I am particularly concerned with how we experience the connectedness that exists between self and place. The materials that interest me are the constituent elements of architecture: wood, concrete, bricks, steel; materials that manifest an inherent history of building.

My intention with the work in this exhibition is to speak about fidelity in the process of building (homes, lives, cities). I want to relate the fundamental principle of precision to a broad notion of building by giving consideration to the way my father, a builder of homes, worked. His value system or work ethic was one of correctness; the accuracy of intention and measurement was critical to the outcome of the project at hand.

I grew up in Hamilton and the components, tools, and practice of building were a significant part of my life. My father was a photo engraver by profession, but in his spare time he built things, including three of our houses and much of the furniture.

A table saw and sawdust in our basement was, for me, completely normal. The process and the materials of construction seeped into my bones as if by osmosis and in time became a vocabulary for expression in my art. This body of work is, in part, an acknowledgement of my father’s influence on my exploration of architecturally based information.

Integral to this installation are the tools of measurement. As objects with a specific function, the plumb bob, snapped chalk line, and spirit-level, by design have a determined purpose and speak of precision; without them we are unable to create sound structures. Their form is elegant, coherent, even humble; they are esthetically pleasing. There is an intrinsic or essential quality to a hand tool whose design may have existed for centuries. They are, in a sense, of a prime order. At the same time, they contain a symbolic potency whereby we can consider them in a wider metaphorical context.



Diane Daniels holds an MFA degree from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University, and is a BFA graduate of the University of Windsor.

Her work references the built environment, the processes of construction, and the connectedness that exists between self and place. She employs the basic materials of construction: concrete, wood, bricks, steel to create conceptual three dimensional works and installations.

Diane was the former director of the Lambton College Contemporary Art Collection in Sarnia Ont., and has instructed in drawing, screen-printing and sculpture/installations. She has participated in group shows, as well as one-person exhibitions and has served on a number of art-focused committees and boards.

The artist lives and works in Hamilton Ontario.


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