Report On: Artist Project Toronto 2014

Hundreds of artists, thousands of artworks, a maze of walled off displays where for a weekend, what must be the biggest creative convergence in Ontario. The Artist Project Contemporary Art Fair highlighted how Canada is a land of growing culture and human energy and not just the farms and fields joked about on Corner Gas. 2014′s gathering and exhibition was held February 20th to 23rd at the Better Living Centre.

For reports on past year’s Artist Project: [2013] [2012]

The striking quality of the gigantic show is how much variety was on display. The basic paintings and illustrations were always present around every corner, and sculptures and and models were abundant. The subject matter varied as much as the mediums, from still life to pure abstract. And then further diversifying the experience was the range of tone. Some artworks were charming and cozy, others were confusing and unsettling. Pushing the limits of these three dimensions made the Art Toronto an experience with rendered depth.

Some artist’s work challenge the observer’s ability to properly describe the pieces. Although easy to remember, not everybody can articulate what exactly Paul Elia’s rotoscoped isometric panorama art. And this year there were thankfully less pieces of “50s architecture in decay”.

   

What makes the Artist Project really an exceptional event that’s better than any museum is the artist who are all stationed by their designated cubicles, and they are open to sharing their inspirations and process on their pieces. Many returning artists brought different pieces, showing a year of growth in their work or completely different artworks – although deep behind the subject matter, experienced observes can still sense each art’s personality in their works.

Last year, Sony exhibited their new 4K resolution televisions, which since then have started to become common on the consumer level. This year the new exhibit getting excitement was Feltro. A toy for artistic children to use magnets and fabric to engineer larger scale fabric masterpieces. And kids in the exhibit who adorned themselves with pieces of Feltro make it obvious that Feltro might have considerable potential as a tool for the Cosplay Community.

Before they acquired Hobbystar assets, Informa’s presence in Toronto was all about their art shows. Somewhat routine, but always fun. Feltro being a fun addition to this year indicates Informa is still refining their shows. More artist banners made navigating the show easer (although it’s still a bit irritating to find the building in Exhibition Place). The comic book industry and convention scene always struggles to diversify, while the Artist Project’s is diversity personified.

-Michael Ryan, February 28, 2014

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