May 7 – 11, 2014
Heritage Court, Direct Energy Centre
100 Princes’ Boulevard, Exhibition Place, Toronto
Hours: Thur 11-6, Fri & Sat 11-7, Sun 11-6pm; Free: Fri 5-7pm
Love Art has a strong art-loving history behind it, fuelled by founder Will Ramsay’s desire to democratize the art-world. Way back when, in 1996, Will opened Will’s Art Warehouse in southwest London to bridge the increasing interest in contemporary art and the London gallery scene. Today, Will’s Art Warehouse still stands and the Affordable Art Fair has become something of a global phenomenon.
Will, said in the Private Preview that he really likes Toronto and the airy setting of the fair in Direct Energy Centre. This is his first fair in Toronto but globally the 99th and it has brought good luck, since some pieces are already sold. He tried to buy his name Affordable Art Fair, but it was already taken here, so they had to pick another name and decided on Love Art. Love Art will carry the same friendly and accessible concept as the Affordable Art Fair, with art priced between $100 to $10,000, so that the only difference is in the name.
This year’s Love Art Fair incorporates thirty eight exhibitors with hundreds of eye catching pieces of art mostly from Toronto based galleries, but also bringing in a scatter of visiting galleries from Montreal, the United States, Uganda, Beijing, France and the United Kingdom.
The aim of the show is to provide a venue where both emerging and established artists could come together with new buyers in a space where affordable pieces could bridge the gap between these two groups. Love Art created a welcoming environment; gallery owners and artists are keen to answer questions, the crowd is diverse, and local non-for-profit community art initiative SKETCH makes an appearance too.
Wednesday night’s opening of the first edition of Love Art was a colourful and joyful event. The Heritage Court at Exhibition Place was a great venue and comfortably filled with potential collectors, artists, and, of course, art. It was certainly a varied exhibition and there was a good vibe in the place. Painting, photography, sculpture, glass work, collage. Everything was represented. I found lots I liked in the $1,000 to $8,500 range, but just a few that were less than $200. There was work by several artists I like: Virginia Mak’s soft focus figures; a lovely landscape by Eamon MacMahon, neat images of transformed books by Cara Barer, and both older and newer works (& someday I’m going to buy a piece) by Ronald Boaks. I enjoyed myself. And I loved the scent of beeswax from the encaustic works.
Love Art was a lot like the Toronto Outdoor Art Show but without the oppresive heat. Whenever I go to an event like this, I’m reminded that there are lots of people in this city that are interested in art. Maybe some go to galleries on a regular basis, but there are many more who need to be coaxed into feeling that art is for them too. Occasions where artists are approachable, as they are here, help bridge the gap and turn browsers into collectors.
Text: Julie McNeill and Ella Gorevalov