The Artist Project Toronto, again located in the Exhibition Place, summoned artists from around Ontario (and a few from beyond) in one massive show of upscale vending and down to earth encounters from Febuary 21st to the 24th. While Informa’s annual fall show brings in artist from around the world, the Artist Project is more about showing how many talented artists are hiding in every corner of Canada.
For the detailed report on last year’s Artist Project, click here.
Inside the venue, thousands of samples of painting and photography and sculpture were on display in booths where the artist was always present to describe their technique and inspirations and hand out business cards. Subject matter ranged from the surreal, to the comedic, to traditional life and still life drawings. There were a lot of images that highlight the overlooked beauty of the mundane and “Fifties Architecture in Decay” was an abundant subject. There were only few pieces on display that qualify as “Comic art,” but many pieces drew from media culture that comics and superheroes are a bastion of.
Highlights and examples:
● Tony Taylor’s animal people returned and included some of the best dressed giraffes you can find.
● Clayton Haigh’s glass sculptures which distorted the light reflecting off their sleek interiors.
● Eric Farache’s artwork combined pop culture iconography offset by short but memorable phrases. He’s currently developing an auto-biographical comic, so keep your eyes open for his name.
● Brian Harvey’s paintings showed Toronto locations and overlooked landmarks.
Not all the pieces were as stimulating as others. Some pieces were clever and some were indulgent. Of course the subject manner of artwork means that every observer comes away with a different experience and while a few pieces reiterate overstated concepts, the overall diversity of the show eliminated any sense of monotony.
Sony had a very modest display this year as part of a photography contest. it was an early chance to glimpse one of their new television sets with “4K resolution” higher than what’s considered “High Definition”. Although everybody is really more eager to see what the technology can be like when applied to video-games and movies, it will be interesting to see if this higher resolution becomes home theatre standard before or after Home 3D. Although corporate presence is often a threat to art, Sony’s display was limited enough that I don’t fear it will strange the terrain like LG did with their overbearing display at Fan Expo.
Of course, the festival had a handful of minor issues. The tabs on the booths were a bit confusing (thankfully artists brought their own banners). For a while one of the video show rooms was having some technical trouble so I missed the piece by comic artist Mike Parsons. The music provided over the speaker system was closer to dinner music than creating an artistic atmosphere. But the biggest issue was the hunger I developed from circulating the facility.
The Artist Project isn’t a colossal party like Nuit Blanche. And it didn’t contain any surprises because attendees know not to come expecting anything other than more art than one can formally scrutinize in a weekend. Next year I’ll make sure to show up on Thursday to experience the launch party.
-Michael Ryan, Febuary 27 2013
My dad also enjoyed the show.