The Artist Project 2020 / Opening Night

February 20, 2020
Better Living Center
195 Princes’ Boulevard, Exhibition Place, Toronto
Opening Night Party: Thursday: 7 – 11

The Artist Project – one of Toronto’s most favourite art fair returned to the Better Living Centre in the Exhibition Place with an exciting opening night party on February 20th 2020. This year’s Artist Project showcases over 300 top contemporary artists from Canada and abroad presenting a variety of artistic agendas of manifold interests. The returning featured parts of the programming that excites all art lovers includes Art Chats, Art Battle, Art Walks and the Untapped emerging artists competition.

Art Lounge

Finalists’ work of the Untapped Emerging Artists Competition

As suggested by the welcoming notes, this year’s Artist Project is dedicated to providing its visitors “a more personal experience with art through enriching conversation, participatory installations and discovery of the new, bold and exciting”. Alongside the visual feast brought by the wonderful selection of artworks, the opening night party also welcomes its comers with vibrant music and various vendors offering tasty cocktails and snacks. Every features of the art fair collaborate cohesively to render an atmosphere that provokes meaningful communications between artists and art enthusiasts as well as a stronger sense of connection to art for each individual.

Betsy Miller’s friends happily join her in a photo

Speaking of the personal experience that the art fair wishes to trigger, right by the entrance of the show and across from the Art Lounge, visitors could find the display of a wall of artworks created by aspiring artists that awaits their appreciations. The displayed artworks are winners of the 20/20 Artist Competition selected by a panel of jurors and the winning artwork that received most votes from the public general will be entitled Artist Competition’s People’s Choice Award. The 20/20 Artist Competition asks competing artists to create artistic illustrations that shows their vision of the new decade.

Artworks from the 20/20 Artist Competition

Interestingly, echoing the intention of the 20/20 Artist Competition to bridge the future and the past as we enter a new decade, many exhibiting artists at the Artist Project 2020 also project close intentions in their artistic manifestations. For instance, Osvaldo Napoli’s wire sculptures, while reflect on the interconnections between technology and city life in the past decades, also triggers viewers to reflect on the impact of the growing dominating role of technology in society.

Wire Sculptures by Osvaldo Napoli

The illuminating light boxes by Hugo Cantin are certainly eye catchers of the show. Through the medium of light and linear-patterned collages, Cantin vividly re-illustrates mid-century figures and icons in contemporary context. Cantin’s works retrospect the essence of the past in a futuristic tone and vividly render the idea of time on two-dimensional surfaces.

Hugo Cantin and his light boxes

With the multicultural backdrop of Toronto, visitors of the Artist Project could always expect to see global customs vividly integrated into artists’ creative blueprints. By blending Japanese tradition and ceremony with modern techniques, artist Denise Buisman Pilger exquisitely infuses her globetrotting experience into her artistic aspirations.

Denise Buisman Pilger, Performance, mixed media on washi

In Kejie Lin’s Spring Scenery, the artist combines traditional Chinese, Japanese ukiyoe and western painting techniques, harmoniously rendering a strong Oriental artistic atmosphere on the three-panel painting.

Spring Scenery by Kejie Lin, Chinese rice paper

Numerous artists at the fair are dedicated to the explorations of solo objects or categories of materials which instantly trigger an intimate relationship with art enthusiasts of similar interests. Anna Gruca invites viewers into her world with meticulous portraits of the different characteristics of crystals, mineral and other precious stones.

Anna Gruca and her paintings of crystals and minerals

This year’s Untapped Emerging Artists showcases numerous works of excellence by emerging artists with distinct styles. While Celine Gabrielle strikes her viewers with strong, clear figures in bright, contrasting colours, Diana Bahr provokes her viewers to think about memories with ambiguous, black and white representations.

Diana Bahr at the Untapped Emerging Artists’ section

The finalists’ work of the Untapped Emerging Artists Competition

The Opening Night Party of the Artist Project 2020 was filled with art enthusiasms and fascinations which truly light up this year’s art fair and guarantees a promising prospect of the upcoming programming. 

Text and photo: Kexin Wu

*Exhibition information: February 20 – 23, 2020, Better Living Centre, 195 Princes’ Boulevard, Exhibition Place, Toronto. Fair hours: Friday: 11 am – 10 pm, Saturday: 11 am – 8 pm, Sunday: 11 am – 6 pm.

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