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Features / October 24, 2013

Our Editors’ Preview Picks for Art Toronto

Metro Toronto Convention Centre October 24 to 28, 2013


Even before an art fair opens, editors have their best bets of what they’d like to see and do there. For the first time ever, Canadian Art is sharing these insider picks with readers for Art Toronto, which opens tonight and runs until October 28. Read on for the details, click the Photos icon for images, visit Booth 940 at 2 p.m. daily for live discussions with our editors, and look for more in-depth picks every day of the fair at



Art Toronto is homecoming week for the Canadian art scene. Galleries from across the country unpack their crates and set up under the lights at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Each year, the fair is an occasion to meet with old friends and new talent. 2013 is no different.

Over four days, anyone can come up to speed on what’s happening in the art world. If painting is your thing, don’t miss Mike Bayne’s paintings at Katharine Mulherin’s booth. Showing a virtuosity of trompe l’oeil realism, Bayne’s small oil-on-panel works are uncanny in their rendering of down-at-the heels landscape and modest architecture. It’s a weird place for high art to end up. Or, at Trépanier Baer’s booth, find two generations of Calgary painters on display, with elegant, playful works by veteran Ron Moppett alongside this decade’s discovery—Ryan Sluggett. If you liked our Spring-issue cover story on Sky Glabush by David Balzer, visit MKG127’s display, which is presenting many of the pieces we reproduced.

Photography is no slouch, either, at this year’s fair. Whether it’s MOCCA’s edition by Sarah Anne Johnson, or the Jon Rafman prints brought by Montreal’s Galerie Antoine Ertaskiran, or Danny Singer’s prairie panoramas at the booth of Vancouver’s Gallery Jones, some of the best work in the country is gathered for the weekend. Make sure to drop by Galerie Hugues Charbonneau’s booth too. Alain Paiement’s new work will literally put you over the moon.



As dealers, collectors and artists from across the country and the globe descend on Toronto this weekend, and with a packed schedule of gala events, adjunct talks, art installations and performances, there’s still one thing that everyone keeps their eye on at Art Toronto—the red sales dot. If it’s not yours, don’t be discouraged. Whether you come to the fair with pocketbook in hand or simply out of curiosity, we can all window shop from booth to booth like art-world millionaires to assemble our very own fantasy collection.

Why not start with Alain Paiement’s spectacularly moving digital composition of solar eclipses, or a wry, minimalist painting by Tammi Campbell, at Galerie Hugues Charbonneau’s booth? Then let’s pick up one of Pascal Grandmaison’s photos of sculptural stalactite and stalagmite forms deep inside Mexican caves from Galerie René Blouin. While we’re at it, take one of Marie-Clarie Blais’s poetic, process-based canvases and an atmospheric Françine Savard painting from Blouin’s booth too.

One of Melanie Authier’s stormy new abstract paintings from Georgia Scherman Projects would be nice to have, or perhaps you’re in the mood for the witty conceptual work of Jennifer Marman and Daniel Borins, also at the GSP booth? Take both! Let’s have a Nicholas Galanin from Trench Contemporary, and one of each from Sky Glabush and David R. Harper at MKG127’s booth. I wonder if Parisian Laundry has brought any of David Armstrong Six’s sculptures? The cart’s only half full…this is fun, let’s continue.



Narwhal Projects artist Tibi Tibi Neuspiel made a splash at last year’s Art Toronto with Hurdles, an absurd performance co-created with Geoffrey Pugen and commissioned by the Art Gallery of Ontario which saw the artists staging a track-and-field competition amid the booths. Narwhal and Neuspiel are back in 2013, promising very good things.

Narwhal, the small Junction-area space co-founded by Kristin Weckworth and Steve Cober, has had a remarkable year of smart, cutting-edge programming. Neuspiel, now in New York for grad school, has also made strides, and here shows works from Housewarming Gifts for Anorexics—a sculpture series of immaculately made urethane replicas of trashy food items like bacon and Doritos, often affixed to mirrors in the shape of faces.

Narwhal is also featuring the abstract collage work of Jacob Whibley, of a similar sensibility to Neuspiel in his daring, quirky mix of craftsmanship and millennial notions of repurposing and play. Other artists at Narwhal’s Art Toronto booth are Carly Waito, whose impressively precise oil paintings of minerals are so popular that prints of them are now being sold at Magic Pony, Narwhal’s design-store affiliate; and Paul Wackers, a US-based painter to watch who blends still-life, street art and abstract expressionism.



It’s always hard to know how works at an art fair are going to play out in real life. Some dealers don’t like to send JPEGs in advance, and that’s their right—though too bad for those of us who mainly work online. Others send images of works that (of course) look much different in person.

Yet there are a few artworks that caught my eye ahead of Art Toronto’s opening. Among these are Rhonda Weppler and Trevor Mahovsky’s sculptures at Torontonian Pari Nadimi’s booth. This West Coast duo always surprises me with their works on consumerism and throwaway culture—in one of their past works, they cast a shopping cart in aluminum foil, which was unexpectedly quite amazing. I am looking forward to seeing their new sculptures of—yep!—beer bottles in bags at the fair.

Also on my to-check-out list is Marina Roy’s work at the booth of Vancouver’s Wil Aballe Art Projects. Roy’s anamorphic (and kind of raunchy) drawings on the ends of books strike me as both uncanny and inventive. Works on paper by Jaime Angelopoulos also appeal at the presentation by Montreal gallery Parisian Laundry. Though Angelopoulos is becoming known for her sculptures, I like her drawings too; they reflect a sense of lightness and play. Tristram Landowne’s imaginative, sci-fi-ish watercolours and drawings at the booth of Toronto’s Le Gallery also promise to take me to another (somewhat more serene and ethereal) place when fair frenzy sets in.


For daily updates on Art Toronto during the fair, visit Also visit us at Booth 940 for daily 2 p.m. editors’ talks, subscription specials and more.