Art Toronto, Canada’s international contemporary and modern art fair, located at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre took place over the weekend of October 27-30. This fair is one of the most important annual art events in Canada. Being an artist myself, this is an event I look forward to every year and aspire to be a part of one day.
Artwork from leading Canadian and International galleries are presented. Therefore, most booths have many different artists represented by one gallery.
I find this art fair to be overwhelming because of this. To have a successful booth I believe the gallery has to choose art pieces that work very well together, while taking risks in order to be noticed.
I find it takes a lot to grab my attention at this exhibition, but some booths and individual artists definitely caught my eye.
I was so excited to see an artist from OCAD University's 2017 graduate exhibition: Nicholas Zirk. OCAD University always has a great booth at Art Toronto exhibiting recent graduates and I was so glad to see his work! I love the connection his paintings make to identity and the surreal aspects and feelings they evoke. His paintings have almost everything I ever look for in an artwork: surrealism, a personal connection, a story and humour.
This sculpture stopped me in my tracks. I had such a mixture of feelings when looking at it. It made me smile, yet evoked feelings of concern and worry. This work was so clever and strange because of the fact it was doing the complete opposite of what you would expect it to do - to be stationary and lifeless. My take away from it was a message communicating the death of childhood and the end of innocence.
One thing I do not like about this show is that most of the time the artists are not present, so it is a downside that you cannot speak to them personally about their work. This sculpture was the first thing that really grabbed me and I am usually not too fond of sculptures, but this really encouraged me to engage and conceptualize the meaning behind it.
Multiples of these engraved plexiglass works by Laurent Lamarche were presented, which were illuminated by bright lights, making them very easy to be noticed. OUUUU BRIGHT LIGHTS! The details were so amazing and was easily the most beautiful artwork collection I saw there. He creates fictional living organisms, marrying art and science. He aims to question our relationship to nature and technology and this is exactly what I took away from it. It is refreshing when you do not have to make your brain hurt to understand what is going on in an artwork. Sometimes you just want art to be clear and straight forward. The concepts are simple, but the visual work sure is not!
You have to take a look at the different views to really appreciate the visuals, so please click this link: http://laurentlamarche.com/fossile/
My favourite booth was DOWNS & ROSS from New York. On the outside corner of the booth was a mannequin child about two and half feet high facing the wall. It looked like she was playing the classic game of hide and seek - her face up against the wall looking like she was counting down until she would embark on the search for her hiding friends. I thought it was a real child at first! It shocked me and made me laugh. This placement of the child was very smart, as it encouraged me to turn the corner and enter the booth. When turning the corner I saw there were others. They were all facing the wall, so I was unable to see their faces. I really enjoy art that tricks the mind and brings an element of surprise, so this caused me to choose this gallery as my number one choice. I also loved the paintings presented. I enjoyed the combination of realism with the graphic illustrations and lines. They were technically impressive and had a great colour scheme. The style of the hands reminded me of traditional Renaissance paintings or tarot cards. Overall, the choice of art pieces and presentation satisfied me emotionally and visually.
Visit their website to learn more: http://www.downsross.com/