Thursday, November 13, 2014 / 6 – 9 p.m.
442 Dufferin Street Unit H
Comprised of members: Stella Cade, Alex Curci, Sarah Letovsky, Erin Loree, Mayra Majano, Andrew Patterson, Tania Santer and Mony Zakhour, NEST Collective is a group of young painters committed to developing a communal studio practice. The eight members of NEST inhabit a shared studio space at 442 Dufferin Street, and recently extended a public invitation to an open house. Held on Thursday, November 13, the open house was an opportunity for NEST to reach out and engage with the Toronto arts community at large. The evening was also significant because it represented the member’s first formal introduction to the public as a collective.
My first reaction upon entering NEST’s studio space was to note how well the work of each member seemed to fit together. While there was a mix of both figurative and abstract work, and each artist appeared headed in a unique direction, much of the work felt as if it was unified in a way that was difficult for me to pinpoint. In fact, as NEST Collective Director and Co-founder Erin Kjaer later told me, the artists involved with the collective were selected through a curatorial process. Each individual artist, whether they are working figuratively, abstractly, or somewhere in-between, is a member of NEST because they add something specific and influential to the group, but as a whole the collective is working towards a shared vision.
As members of a collective, the painters involved with NEST intend to not only work in the same studio, but also to influence one another and to engage themselves with the broader arts community. In fact, just recently NEST was offered a residency with the creative community hub that is Artscape Youngplace. To begin in 2015, the residency means an opportunity for NEST collective to expand their practice outside of the confines of their studio space. This also means the collective will be given a chance to branch out and grow, having been given the opportunity to learn from a new experience.
The open house showed that the artists have already settled into their space, as there were half completed paintings hanging from the walls and piles of art supplies stashed in almost every conceivable space. By the time I arrived there was already a decent crowd hovering in and outside of the studio, which was located in what appeared to be a converted warehouse. The studio itself was a large room that had been subdivided with drywall partitions so that each artist was given their own space, but one that was part of a whole. I talked to members Erin Loree and Stella Cade, who said that the space meant a place where they could develop their work and learn from the influence of their peers, as well as contribute their own ideas.
Having been formed only a few months ago, NEST Collective already seems well on its way towards establishing a meaningful and mutually beneficial practice amongst its members. To hear more from NEST Collective, and to follow their progress as they embark on their residency, visit them online at www.nestcollectivestudios.com.
Text and photo: Madeleine Till