This year’s art fair was in person and a welcome sign that things were returning to something called normal. As one visitor, Kelly McRae, a curator and artist himself said it was smaller, more intimate but there was some good work and it was easy to navigate. This year there about 60 galleries compared to the usual 100 +.

I talked with some representatives from RBC, the key sponsor of the fair about their booth with emerging artists. RBC has over 6000 works in its collection and they are from emerging artists in order to help them become established artists. There were four emerging artists with works on display for the Art Fair including my favorite Glorious Bones by Esma Mohamoud using old football helmets and African wax print textile.

Glorious Bones by Esma Mohamoud, RBC Emerging Artists section

Many Toronto galleries had returned and I visited a few Clint Roenisch, Corkin Gallery, MKG127, Patel Brown, Paul Petro Contemporary art and Sandra Ainsley to name a few. There were a number of Montreal Galleries at this year’s fair.

Clint Roenisch Gallery, Toronto

Sandra Ainsley Gallery, Toronto

Kevin Boothe of Towards Gallery, Toronto with work by Jacob Broussard

Gallerist, Juno Youn, Gallery Youn, Montreal (left) and photographer George Whiteside (right)

There were also a dozen project spaces as well. The book fair was now on the same floor and with lots of publications big and small. I talked with Eldon Garnet there and was tempted to purchase a compilation of interviews in his publication Impulse Magazine but decided to forgo the purchase as I was travelling by bike. Some textile books by Olivia Mae Sinclair caught my eye.

Olivia Mae Sinclair and her textile books

Buyers were there early making purchases which was encouraging for galleries to participate. I witnessed several people with art works under their arms.

Buyers leaving Galerie Robertson Arés, Montreal

The usual Gala fundraiser opening was postponed to 2022. The panel talks were also online this year. People were all masked and checked at the door for their vaccinations. Visitors were bumping into friends as they recognized them despite the masks. I stopped by Patel Brown Gallery and saw a beautiful piece of porcelain by Shary Boyle and Lido Pimienta.

Caminos y Capas, a path through the layers Shary Boyle, Lido Pimenta, porcelain, underglaze, gouache, gold-leaf, Patel Brown Gallery, Toronto

At the McMichael I took in Margaux Williamson’s FIre (oil on canvas). There were some great art works at the fair and it felt great connecting with so many galleries and artists.

FIRE by Margaux Williamson, oil on canvas, McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Kleinburg

One of my last stops was at a new gallery K Art from Buffalo. They specialize in Native Contemporary Art and have been open just over a year in Buffalo’s historic district. One of the works that caught my eye was Dine Body Bag by Edgar Heap of Birds – a series of mono prints.

Dine Body Bag by Edgar Heap of Birds, mono prints K ART Gallery, Buffalo

Every which way you looked at this year’s fair there was another piece of work that drew you in. Just what you need to start your recovery from this COVID-19 mess. Artists for the most part seem to have been busy creating new works for us to enjoy and the fair is the perfect venue to take it all in. It may be smaller but it works just fine.

TAGLIALATELLA Galleries, Toronto, New York City, Palm Beach, Paris

Text and photo: Phil Anderson

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