LAST OCTOBER, MMPI ran The 12th Annual International Art Fair in the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, sponsored primarily by RBC which gathered artists from around the world. This event is not sponsored primarily by a single bank so the artists are mostly within driving distance and the venue is the Queen Elizabeth building near the Exhibition. Those two things made it the experience all the better.
Two hundred artists attended who work in a variety of media: collages, sculptures, coloured glass, and all sizes of painting on every subject. Abstract, still life, and conceptual were all there, arranged in clean displays lining the halls. It was all for sale, mostly selling for more than a season’s worth of comic books. But don’t go hoping for fanart of Spider-man or your favourite anime character, of course. This is a mecca of originality.
But the really neat thing was that each of the exhibits were watched over by the artist themselves, who would interact with the attendees and explain their process and give insight into their inspiration and history. This is what really made the experience more interactive than a trip to a museum. The artists were very friendly to talk to, which was nice since my planned company for the trip didn’t make it. Make sure to take one of their business cards, since none of these artists relies on Deviant Art for their web-presence.
This interaction between artist and audience gave this art show a genuine energy. Energy happened to be the theme of the art contest featuring choice submissions. The contest hall had the artworks closer to each other than they were in the exhibitor booths, giving for a more wild contrast. Images of apocalypse sat beside a forest view in a fascinating juxtaposition.
With the huge number of artists, every walk from one side of the building to the other revealed different pieces which introduced some novel new arrangement of shape and colours or perhaps a still image that frames the charm of a passive enviroment. However soon my legs were tired and I was thirsty and in no mood for the refreshments that are priced in scale with the art.
Next time the MMPI has a gallery, I’ll be there trying to absorb all the diverse culture I can, although it would help to have company to drag along. I’m actually surprised they were able to find so many qualified artists able to fill the building, but after talking to several of them I found out the thriving scene is a side effect of having art schools like Sheridan and OCAD around. Next time around, I’ll make sure to check out some of the events like the launch party and live discussions.
Special Thanks to the artists who let me photograph their materials for this article:
- Andrew King Artist of the images in the top banner which evoke the pop art style of the fifties.
- Clement Chang Exhibition the Sojourn Subseries, displaying depth of human form & motion.
- Alex Anagnostou Color & elements encased in ornate glass.
- Andrew Briggs Familiar media images in new textures.
- And also check out http://www.thedogpary.ca for paintings of dogs in silly outfits.
March 13, 2012
Press kit dudes: Don’t put stickers on optical media.