Though the Bank of Canada has been broadcasting for months that the recession is officially over, and the recent fall art auctions generally did better than expected, general economic confidence is still low enough that it’s surprising to see any business expanding its operations.
Nonetheless, Bau-Xi Gallery—with spaces in Vancouver, Toronto and Seattle—is starting the new year by launching a new Toronto gallery devoted solely to photography.
Alissa Sexton, co-director of Bau-Xi Toronto, says that the time is ripe to take the risk. “The market for photography suits a recession because the price points are typically lower,” Sexton explains.
The new gallery, Bau-Xi Photo, is located in a renovated former rooming house a few doors down from the existing Bau-Xi Toronto space on Dundas Street West. According to Sexton, the older space will be devoted to Bau-Xi’s existing artists in painting, drawing and sculpture—like Joseph Plaskett and Val Nelson—while the new space will focus on photo artists, many of whom are new to the gallery and commercial representation.
The two-level Bau-Xi Photo space opened January 9 with a solo exhibition by Adam Makarenko on the main level and a group show by gallery stable Zoë Jaremus, Joshua Jensen-Nagle, Ferit Kuyas, Eamon MacMahon, Anthony Redpath, Chris Shepherd and Toby Smith on the lower level. With the exception of Kuyas, who is based in Zurich, and Smith, who is based in the UK, the artists are Canadian.
Despite her optimism surrounding the expansion, however, Sexton does admit there are areas where the recession has made a real impact. “Fairs are the one thing that have been more difficult to do in a recession, particularly with the US feeling it a little more than Canada,” Sexton notes. She says Bau-Xi Photo will look at attending photo fairs if the market rebounds accordingly.