By Diana Condolo
Canada’s largest art fair, The Artist Project, returned to Toronto this winter from February 19–22, 2015 at the Better Living Centre at Exhibition Place. From collectors and curators, to gallerists and designers, visitors can explore and discover works of art from over 250 top contemporary artists from Canada and abroad. This is a unique opportunity to meet and buy art directly from artists at one of Toronto’s best art fair.
The fair pulsates with curators, designers, art enthusiasts and others who just want a fun night out. The chic crowd mingling with 250 of the best emerging and established contemporary artists from various disciplines makes for quite a buzz. I attended the Early Access Preview on Thursday, February 19, 2015. Join me for a quick tour of the sparkling night.
The entrance installation by Bruno Billio is composed of 110 individual sculptures wrapped in coloured string to the extent where their original identity is hidden, deformed, repurposed. The string and the tightness in which it wraps these objects allude to our innate need to preserve our memories, or the romanticized ideals that we fabricate around them.
We had a great conversation with Peter Chung, who paints simple houses to represent people. The houses have small windows as eyes and without doors to signify people’s need for privacy. The houses below are lovers, one house is shadowing-protecting-the other as sign of willingness to sacrifice for love.
Florian Holzinger’s current collection, VIBRANT TIMES, is a semblance of the analogue and digital worlds through photography. The play between colour, light and image offers a sort of optical illusion when combined with both the custom printing and mounting onto individually made framing.
There is static art and then there is performance art. Fortunately there is a lot of space in the Better Living Building. Two females are harnessed into this contraption; each influences the other.
The evening was beautifully catered with Barefoot wine, macarons by Anet Gesualdi, falafel by Tabülè Restaurant and much, much more.
Canadian sculptor James Paterson has a unique way of capturing and expressing prayer in an artistic way. He gives a physical representation of what some prayers might look like if we could actually see them. I first saw and fell in love with his work at an art exhibition at City Hall. I was so excited to see his work at The Artist Project – I was even luckier this time around because James Paterson was there in the flesh! I grabbed this opportunity to have a long conversation with James and gained wonderful insights into the artist and his artistry. We covered a lot of ground in our discussion so I must have spent more time than I thought talking to him. We discovered what we both have in common is a lot of mind wandering.
The colourful art in the Paper Bag Beers will make you take notice. These two girls consider themselves extraterrestrial rainbow children and when you walk by their booth, the vibrant colours of their art will either pollute your view or make you think you’ve gone over the rainbow. The combination of their two distinct artistic styles creates work that falls somewhere between fairy tale illustrations and dystopian toxic wastescapes. It makes me want to take out my brightest crayons and start colouring everything.
Kelly Grace’s art expresses her love of retro-inspired themes and subject matter in a modern voice. Her work is about memories and nostalgia. My mind is fixated on her dress.
Raymond Waters’s work plays with the tensions between objects and social, cultural, political and economic discourse to highlight the meaning and evolution of ‘value’. This sculpture is made of U.S. pennies.
The Artist Project offers so much. With so many artists to see, the best strategy is to cruise around all the exhibits quickly and then return for a closer look at pieces that catch your eye. It is an excellent way to get out and mingle with the creative minds that are forging new ground in the art world.