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AGO Acquires Works by Funk, Burnham, Ashoona & Sidarous at Art Toronto

The Art Gallery of Ontario has acquired works by Karel Funk, Anthony Burnham, Shuvinai Ashoona and Celia Perrin Sidarous at Art Toronto‘s Opening Night Preview this evening.

The AGO’s acquisitions at the preview, which is a gala also benefiting the gallery’s programs, are closely watched as they kick off the fair’s collecting activity and highlight both prominent and up-and-coming contemporary Canadian artists.

“You want to find the best art possible—what you think is the most engaging,” AGO curator of modern and contemporary art Kitty Scott told Canadian Art. “The opportunity to buy a work by Karel Funk is a rare one….We thought it was a really strong and one of the most beautiful paintings here at the fair.”

The work by Winnipeg painter Funk, Untitled #59 (2013), is one of his highly characteristic acrylic-on-panel paintings offering a sensitive, realist view of a model’s head. It was brought to the fair by Galerie Division, which maintains galleries in both Toronto and Montreal. The wall label listed its price at $50,000.

Anthony Burnham’s painting This and That (2013) is a large acrylic on linen work with a trompe l’oeil effect; it seems to depict a blue cloth stretched over commonplace objects. It was acquired at the booth of Montreal gallerist René Blouin. Burnham, born in Montreal in 1973, also lives and works in the city.

Two photographs by emerging artist Celia Perrin Sidarous—who is still finishing her MFA in photography at Concordia University—were brought to the fair by Montreal dealer Parisian Laundry and acquired by the AGO. Titled Eight Cubes with Ceramics (2013) and Eight Cubes on their Own (2013), the inkjet prints on matte paper reference traditions of still life and interior design.

Scott first encountered Sidarous’s work in a portfolio review session at the Contact Photography Festival in Toronto a few years ago.

“I thought she had a really great kind of eye and I loved what she was doing,” Scott said. She also reconnected with the artist at the Banff Centre—where Scott was director of visual arts from 2007 to 2012—in the interim.

Cape Dorset artist Shuvinai Ashoona is known for large pencil-crayon drawings that combine the northern everyday with the fantastical and mystical. Her drawing Shovelling Worlds (2013), acquired by the AGO, is also in this vein. A wall label at Feheley Fine Arts’ booth priced it at $6,700 (framed).

For daily updates on Art Toronto, visit canadianart.ca/arttoronto. Also join us at Booth 940 for daily 2 p.m. talks by our editors. 

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