Installation view with Isabella Di Sclafani’s installation
February 23 – 25, 2018
Better Living Center
195 Princes’ Boulevard, Exhibition Place, Toronto
Every year, one of Toronto’s greatest contemporary art fairs is undoubtedly The Artist Project. The 2018 edition is no exception, in terms of brilliances and artistic merit that the fair has become renowned for. Held inside the CNE fairgrounds, the Better Living Center manages to contain within it a more tremendous and culturally significant amount of established and raw talent than can be appreciated within a single visit.
Upon entering the exhibition, the work Shine On by Nathalie Sanche greets the visitors. A series of silver, rolled foils assembled as decorative, geometric designs welcome the visitors with their luminous and captivating image into the space and guides them past the initial reception.
Nathalie Sanche, Shine On (2018)
Next, audiences are led to an array of work submitted to the Artist Project’s sponsored competition. The dedicated wall was filled with submissions from nearly, if not all, of the participating artists in the fair. The theme, inspired by the Swiss matchmaking company Swatch, was the colloquial interpretation of “Time Flies”. Artists from the fair responded to the theme, in a variety of ways, to compete, in accompaniment of the voting participants, for prizes and recognition. The salon-style assemblage of work proved as an introductory taste of the full exhibition taking place further within the venue. Themes emerged from the vast spectrum of work, such as the trending social media hashtag “Time’s Up”, as well as symbolic or metaphorical representations of the expression.
Time Flies Competition, Sponsored by Swatch
One of the initial booths that established itself as a cohesive and powerful body of work was Dania Elcharbini’s, a striking collection of greyscale and gold. Deeper exploration into the paintings revealed that the artist had created these beautiful portraits and figurative compositions with the intent to inject unnatural and inhuman textures into otherwise familiar forms. Closer proximity to the work revealed these hidden ripples, roughness and patterns that from afar would be easily missed. The series managed to seduce audiences from a variety of backgrounds, hijacking the social values and aesthetics of gold.
Artist Dalia Elcharbini
Another artist whom enthralled audiences was Lana Filippone. Her work was exhibited in the Salon National de Beaux Arts within the L’oeuvre in Paris, as recently as December 2016. Her porcelain pieces are heavily inspired by ancient alchemy. Animals, flowers, body parts and organs retrieved their ancient symbolism and mythologies to compose vignettes of allegorical scenes describing the artist’s personal and critical views on modern life. The works themselves held their own autonomy, only a brief conversation with the artist unveiled their true meaning.
Artist Lana Filippone
Synnove Seidman provided delightful and positive contributions to the general ideology of the fair. She described her work as “the balm on the society of life” which she elaborated to mean that by rendering, aestheticizing and disseminating joy, she was contributing to the healing process which is the modern world so desperately needs.
Artist Synnove Seidman
As a part of the Untapped section of the fair, Anna Stein aka anski stands out with her wall-based rug works. Originally from Nova Scotia, the artist appropriated the tradition, folk medium of rug-hooking to embrace the post-internet age and render cartoons, memes and similar punk aesthetics in the otherwise, regularly conservative medium.
Artist Anna Stein aka anski
Another talented participant in the Untapped section, Sierra Barber uses encaustic medium to compose her series of textured and layered works. She described her work as “perfect for Spring” which resonated true, since the work resonated with the traditionally pastel palette of Easter and the Spring Equinox.
Artist Sierra Barber
And there are so many more artists with interesting work, it is impossible to see them all.
Artist Loraine Mohar
Artist Roger Wood
Work by Hugo Cantin
Artist Claire Bartleman with her textile
Work by Sandra MacGillivray
Artist Tony Taylor
Sangmin Lee’s Undressing Bart
The Informa Canada team has managed to put together a wonderful fair in 2018.
Text and photo: Nathan Flint
A photo journal by Sophie Wang:
The Entrance Project by Nathalie Sanche, Shine On
Installation view with visitors
Work by Joel Sullivan
Art Battle #638, Friday, February 23
The Untapped Emerging Artist Section
The Untapped area
*Exhibition information: February 23 – 25, 2018, Better Living Center, 195 Princes’ Boulevard, Exhibition Place, Toronto. Hours: Friday: 11 – 10, Saturday: 11 – 8, Sunday: 11 – 6 p.m.