ART TORONTO, 2012
October 26 – 29, 2012
METRO TORONTO CONVENTION CENTRE
This year the Art Toronto International Art Fair continues to impress and surpass its previous year in what is the largest exhibition ever. Frank Hyder of Projects Gallery (Miami and Philadelphia) says its about the quality of work that impresses him and partner Helen Hyder. Hyder thought that were fewer galleries this year but the fair was still bigger.
The Fair is expected to attract over 20,000 visitors and art consumers. All the gallery owners I talked with seemed impressed with the Opening Night Preview in terms of enthusiasm and sales. Ron Moore of Moore Gallery said Saturday has always been the best day for sales and this was echoed by other galleries.
Every year there are special projects that help define the fair and one such project was the Beyond Geography that echoes the Focus Asia component of this years fair . In fact the title comes from a video work by participating artist, Li Ran.
Other projects include the BMW Art Car, this year the Robert Raustenberg’s 1986 Art Car, a BMW 635 CSi.
The South Asian Visual Arts Collective of Toronto also had works on display including Joshua Vettivelu‘s Glory Hole Installation/Performance. Canadian Art‘s Richard Rhodes curated a series titled Aerials: Prisons , Vistas and Infinities. On display during my visit was Alain Paiement‘s photo aerials works. I missed the accompanying talk by Richard Rhodes. Everyday the display and artist changes.
Another fascinating and pleasing project was Aaron Taylor Kuffner’s The Gamelation – “the worlds first and only fully robotic gamelan orchestra. The sounds created provided a unique and resonating atmosphere in what can be an overwhelming experience of taking in so much art.
The MOCCA Benefit edition by Toronto artist, Ed Pien was mostly sold out . The water jet cut aluminium multiple was titled Leap. Sales of the work benefit MOCCA . Ed Pien has shown internationally (recently at the 18th Biennale of Sydney 2012) as well as being represented by galleries in Toronto (Birch Libralato) and Montreal (Pierre – Francois Quellette Art Contemporain).
Art Toronto again offers the Next Galleries program where emerging galleries are offered an opportunity to display the works of new and emerging artists. This years collection of Next Galleries on the West side of the fair floor area included 19 galleries from Toronto, Venice, Montreal, Havana, Los Angeles, Mexico City and New York. Local Galleries included Le Gallery, MKG127, Narwhal, O’Born Contemporary, Erin Stump Projects, Blunt – an art collective, Neubacher Shor Contemporary and General Hardware Contemporary. These galleries offered some exciting works by new artists that demand attention.
One of the more pleasing observations I made was the invitation of artists to participate in some of the gallery booths representing them. This is difficult for many galleries with a large roster of artists and for most galleries travelling a considerable distance the cost of bringing artists along becomes prohibitive. At the Winsor Gallery, from Vancouver I talked with artist and photographer Brian Howell about his work. Howell collected a number of shopping carts filled with different objects over a period of about four months. He collected over 40 such carts and then took them to the studio to photograph them. Some 28 photographs became part of an exhibition in April of 2011 at the Winsor Gallery. At the Fair the Winsor displayed about ten of the works. Each photograph told a different story about the person who was moving these belongings in transit in the carts. It was fitting project for Howell, a former journalist.
Also on hand was artist Angela Grossmann, of Winsor Gallery who talked about her use of working with found objects to display her work, as the piano rolls. The objects had there own history which added to her art work. The opportunity of talking to the artist about their individual work added to the value of the experience and made the work more engaging.
This years Art Toronto offered such a variety of art experiences and Toronto is fortunate to have this kind of event to bring international galleries to Toronto and at the same time showcase the abundance of talented artists that call Toronto home. Now that’s something to take pride in.
Text: Phil Anderson