Monthly Archives: April 2014

Looks good on Papier

I may have been just as excited for Sterling’s first train ride as I was for my first visit to Papier 14 this weekend. We arrived late Saturday afternoon, around the same time as the rain. Our late arrival caused me to miss Bill Clarke’s talk at the fair on Friday, and Leah Sandal’s talk on Saturday, though I’ve been catching up with some of their exploits on Facebook… The show was smaller than I had initially envisioned, but I have to give credit to Montreal for it’s wonderful support of the event. The red carpet, mushy and frothing with rain invigorated soap, was well worn by the constant stream of visitors piling into the pay-what-you-can exhibition.

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Wren Noble, At the Dance I, DC3 Gallery

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Wren Noble, Pigeons 2011, DC3 at Papier 14

 

Having a toddler in tow inspired us to trade Papier’s ubiquitous glass of wine for one of the biggest and mentionably divine chocolate chip cookies from the café inside the tent. As Le Gallery’s owner and director, Wil Kucey mentioned, the show is an interesting and refreshing cross-section of Canadian art. The work is diverse, and like every fair, there is much to serve varying degrees of taste. While some galleries challenge the definition of “paper based art,” by showcasing novelties, others simply bring out their best in the offerings of drawing, printmaking and photography.

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Andre Dubois, sombre crepuscule- read my mind 2014, Galerie BAC

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Ted Barker, untitled 2009, Graphite on Paper, Galerie Laroche/Joncas

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Erika Dueck, Untitled- the ephemeral mind series 2014, Art Mur

 

Erika Dueck, Untitled- the ephemeral mind series 2014, detail, Art Mur

Erika Dueck, Untitled- the ephemeral mind series 2014, detail, Art Mur

While there were a few pieces that struck me from galleries farther afield, one of the most exciting parts of the show was previewing some of the impressive summer offerings coming to town to a few of my favourite galleries here in Toronto. At PM gallery, Amanda Clyne’s deconstructions (Excavating Artiface, on now) was hung beside Wil Murray’s series of renovated photographs. Using photographs taken from a book of early travel photos he purchased while living in Berlin (Die Welt in Farben), Murray uses various techniques (collage, painting) to manipulate the photographs and then creates a negative so that he can reprint the photos. They are then hand-coloured and remounted onto their original pages from the book. Powell MacDougall, owner of the gallery, was excited about the recent purchase of three of these unique works into the RBC collection.

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Wil Murray’s work at PM Gallery, Papier 14

At Le Gallery, a massive example of one of Tristram Lansdowne’s surreal landscapes was unmissable. Two smaller works by the young artist, who was recently accepted to do his Master’s program at RISD, show eager experimentation into less narrative work. (Unfortunately I doubt his path will cross with his talented friend and Le colleague, Amanda Nedham who will likely be finished her current studies at the institution). Also of note were the grotesque Asian scroll works by artist Howie Tsui.

Finally, Balint Zsako’s mix and match drawings, displayed on a thin shelf running across the centre of Mulherin’s booth, created a minimalist space that drew instant attention in its contrast with the other galleries at the show. Each of the small framed watercolours, which are sold exclusively in pairs or larger denominations, is created to fit together seamlessly with any of the other works from the series. Apparently, the artist came to Katherine Mulherin with the concept days after the gallerist was approached about coming to the fair for her first time. Zsako, who was in attendance at the fair, will return home to complete the series which will exhibit all summer.

Balint Zsako's work on display at Katherine Mulherin, Papier 14

Balint Zsako’s work on display at Katherine Mulherin, Papier 14

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Don’t be Afraid to Ask

I joined Nicole Milkovich of the Love Art Fair, Alison Milne, and Anthea Baxter, director of Alison Milne Gallery at the Spoke Club this week for an informal presentation on starting an art collection. The overarching message of the talk was to get over any fears you might have of the “art world” and trust your own instincts about judging the merit of art. The trio related a series of common sense strategies on the topic of starting an art collection. As they stressed the fact that commercial galleries are retail spaces, their tips came down to sensible shopping advice. Here are a few:

  • Shop around- go to many galleries, art shows and fairs, openings, read magazines and blogs, get on gallery mailing lists- with the purpose of defining your personal taste in art.
  • Educate yourself- ask gallerists for price lists, read about different mediums so that you understand what your are buying.
  • Trust yourself- don’t be afraid to look stupid, acknowledge that different people have different tastes in art and that your preference is valid.
Aqueous-ii, Crystal Wagner, 2013, PM Gallery, $2100. This paper relief sculpture (framed in a shadow box) was featured during the talk as an example of work that may be found at the fair.

Aqueous-ii, Crystal Wagner, 2013, PM Gallery, $2100. This paper relief sculpture (framed in a shadow box) was featured during the talk as an example of work that may be found at the fair.

Milne relayed her own story of entering the art world.  Working as an interior designer, she decided she needed art on the walls of her showroom. She decided to ask an artist friend, Harvey Valentine, if she use his art. At the end of a relaxed evening and $24,000 later, Valentine had sold his entire show and Milne had decided on a new career venture.

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During the closing question and answer period the topic of art as an investment was broached. After comparisons to the stock market and playing your numbers were mentioned, Milkovich related an anecdote about a person who began collecting by buying a piece of work from an artist friend who needed money. The anecdotal starving-artist was Mark Rothko, which led to Milkovich’s advice “buy for love and if it’s a good investment you can be smug about your purchase later.”

Tonya Corkey, drier lint pulled through canvas,  2013, Alison Milne Gallery. The work was featured as an example of what to expect at Love Art Fair.

Tonya Corkey, drier lint pulled through canvas, 2013, Alison Milne Gallery. The work was featured as an example of what to expect at Love Art Fair.

The Love Art Fair runs May 8-11, 2014. For more about the show read my earlier post.

Header image: Ric Santon, a history over large and small accidents, 2007
acrylic on wood, 60″ X 54″, Parts Gallery. Santon’s work was showcased during the talk as an example of art that may be found at Love Art Fair.

Contact is coming!

The website for the ScotiaBank Contact Photography Festival is up and running, so check it out if you haven’t already picked up one of the glossy manuals that are circulate the city at this time of year. The festival, which is the largest of it’s kind in the world, turns Toronto into a hub of the photographed image bringing the works of world-class photographers to the galleries and streets of our evermore cosmopolitan city.

I’m looking forward to hopefully chatting with Canada’s preeminent photographer Stan Douglas (fingers crossed) as well as emerging artist and new mother Elaine Chan-Dow.

Stan Douglas, MacLeod

Stan Douglas at Ryerson Image Centre

The festival kicks off on May 2, 2014 at MOCCA. Take a look at the website for full details of artist talks and exhibition details and peruse some of the photos below for some exhibitions that are not to be missed. Also keep your eyes peeled for billboards along Dundas Street West, Spadina and Front street NE corner, Queens Park Subway Station, Metro Hall, and Pearson Intl. Airport, among other public locations.

Michael Awad, The Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, 2014

Michael Awad, The Entire City Project, ROM

Rob Hornstra, Mikhail Karabelnikov, Sochi, Russia, 2009

Rob Hornstra at Contact Gallery

Fausta Facciponte, The Opening, 2013

Fausta Facciponte at The Art Gallery of Mississauga

 

Varial Cédric Houin, Marbet, 2011

Varial Cedric Houin at Arsenal Toronto

Gordon Parks, Department Store, Mobile, Alabama, 1956

Gordon Parks at Nicholas Metivier Gallery

Header Image: Max Dean at Harbourfront Centre