CURRENT ISSUE | SPRING 2017: STRUCTURES
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Art Toronto Dealer Highlights: New To the Fair

 

More than 100 galleries are participating in Art Toronto this year. We caught up with four galleries across Canada that are taking part for the first time. Here, they tell us about why they are showing at Art Toronto and describe the highlights of their booths.

 

Actual, Winnipeg (booth 1102)
Lisa Kehler, Director

In one sentence, how would you describe your gallery’s program?

Actual focuses on Winnipeg’s leading contemporary artists who are not only contributing to but also driving a national and international conversation about art.

Why did you invest in a booth at Art Toronto this year, and what do you hope to get out of the fair?

Actual is barely three months old, and existing in a smaller, less active art market like Winnipeg requires us to move outside of the city to connect with collectors. Winnipeg is a much buzzed about city, and for a good reason. We are home to a remarkably high number of exceptional artists, and until now most have had to leave the city to find representation. The goal of participating in the fair this year is to connect a larger audience with these artists and watch their careers flourish.

What are the highlights of your booth at Art Toronto?

Actual is pleased to feature work by five artists, most of them relatively new to the scene: Robert Taite, one of this year’s RBC Canadian Painting Competition finalists whose deconstructed canvases are certainly a highlight; Derek Dunlop, who most recently exhibited at the Drawing Centre; the youngest on our roster, Ted Barker, who has been repeatedly singled out for his exquisite draughtsmanship; Jeanette Johns, whose explorations of landscape are unique and considered; and the veteran of the crew, Shaun Morin, a.k.a. the Slomotion, whose scattered narrative paintings will certainly be a highlight too. We also have a significant selection of works by our other gallery artists available, ranging in media from lithography to carbon paper drawings to textiles. Highlights among these are Kristin Nelson’s woven stationery, Sylvia Matas’s collaged weather forecasts and Suzie Smith’s clever screenprints of screenprinting techniques.

What other art fairs do you show at?

Art Toronto is our first, but we do plan to attend Papier in Montreal next spring.

What else are you hoping to do in Toronto while you are in town for the fair?

Is there time to do anything else?! In all seriousness, I hope to visit the Colville exhibition at the AGO that features one of our artists, William Eakin.

 

Initial Gallery, Vancouver (booth 1018)
Ron Regan, Owner

In one sentence, how would you describe your gallery’s program?

The gallery has been exhibiting contemporary art of all media but we are most interested in lens-based contemporary art, meaning traditional still and motion photography, as well as new-media or traditional-material artists involved in a common dialogue.

Why did you invest in a booth at Art Toronto this year, and what do you hope to get out of the fair?

At first generally wary of art fairs, we began to see the phenomenon as a response to the tech-savvy industry’s digital-platform expansion. Today you can buy almost anything with a left click, but art requires dialogue and contextualization, and this requires people coming together and talking. That’s what’s happening at Art Toronto and we needed to be a part of it.

What are the highlights of your booth at Art Toronto?

Our highlight is the exhibition of reliefs by Eli Bornstein. Bornstein was part of the early abstraction movement in Saskatchewan. Inspired by the Russian and Dutch Constructivists, he fabricated his first reliefs in the late 1950s. His work in this medium continues to the present day, with the beauty of the Canadian prairies acting as his muse. Bornstein’s asymmetric reliefs reflect the underlying structural language of nature and are more relevant now than ever before.

What other art fairs do you show at?

This is our first art fair.

What else are you hoping to do in Toronto while you are in town for the fair?

Meet people, have fun.

 

Renann Isaacs Contemporary ArtGuelph (booth 1204)
Renann Isaacs, Dealer/Curator/Consultant 

In one sentence, how would you describe your gallery’s program?

The gallery presents contemporary Canadian art with a unique curatorial bent.

Why did you invest in a booth at Art Toronto this year, and what do you hope to get out of the fair?

I’m always searching for ways to invite both those in the know and those not so in the know to a growing market in southwestern Ontario. Art Toronto provides an ideal venue to capture the attention of dedicated followers of visual art and to introduce them to artists who may have been off their radar. I think Canadian artists are some of the best in the world. We have an extraordinary amount of talent in this country. So many Canadian singers, actors, comedians, authors and filmmakers have achieved international recognition, and I think soon it will be our artists who are going to make an indelible mark. Like TIFF, Art Toronto is becoming one the most recognized venues to see some of the best art in the world and Renann Isaacs Contemporary Art is honoured to be a participating gallery celebrating the fair’s 15th anniversary.

What are the highlights of your booth at Art Toronto?

I’m bringing what I consider to be the finest emerging and mid-career artists who are part of the burgeoning art community of Guelph and the surrounding region I operate in. Cora Cluett, Paul Dignan, Melissa Doherty, Felice Koenig, Eileen MacArthur and Don Russell are each exceptionally talented artists. The curatorial thread I present typifies the fine detail and vision that each of the artists apply to their work. From abstraction to realism, these artists provide viewers with an impressive array of work that is at once provocative and significant.

What other art fairs do you show at?

Art Toronto is our first fair.

What else are you hoping to do in Toronto while you are in town for the fair?

Visit old haunts and see my friends.

 

Gurevich Fine Art, Winnipeg (booth 1114)
Howard Gurevich, President

In one sentence, how would you describe your gallery’s program?

Gurevich Fine Art presents internationally renowned and up-and-coming art visionaries covering a wide array of styles, mediums and expressions.

Why did you invest in a booth at Art Toronto this year, and what do you hope to get out of the fair?

Exhibiting at Art Toronto allows a broader market the opportunity to view and possibly invest in exceptional work from seven incredibly talented artists who are based in or otherwise connected to Winnipeg.

What are the highlights of your booth at Art Toronto?

Our booth showcases work by digital-art pioneer and world-renowned singer/songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie, who is exclusive to Gurevich Fine Art. We’re excited to show paintings by Christian Worthington, described by the former curator of the Winnipeg Art Gallery as being worthy of hanging in the Prado. We also represent Carole Freeman, one of two living artists to exhibit last month at the Leslie Sacks Gallery in Los Angeles alongside David Hockney, Matisse and Picasso. Other highlights include exquisite oil and gold-leaf paintings by Kae Sasaki, as well as works by Megan Krause and Berlin-based Cyrus Smith. We are planning a few surprises too.

What other art fairs do you show at?

Currently, Art Basel. We’re exploring the possibility of Art Miami and Frieze in the future.

What else are you hoping to do in Toronto while you are in town for the fair?

Visit some private collections and the AGO, take in some new restaurants and catch up with friends and clients.

 

These responses have been edited and condensed. For daily updates on Art Toronto during the fair, visit canadianart.ca/arttoronto. Also visit the Canadian Art booth for daily 2 p.m. editors’ talks, subscription specials and more.

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