The 10 most exciting artists to check out at Art Toronto
The Art Toronto mega-fair, running from October 28 to 31 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, is a glorious smorgasbord of eye candy, with thousands of sculptors, painters and photographers from all over the world showing off their work. It’s also the best place for deep-pocketed collectors and museums to discover new artists and snag new pieces. Here’s are 10 creative geniuses to catch at the fair.
The New York art duo Tania Brassesco and Lazlo Passi Norberto create lush, painterly photographs inspired by classic lore and literature. Their images include recreations of lavish Klimt portrait, a twisted Sleeping Beauty where a woman slumbers in a shadowy tomb blanketed with dead foliage, and this shot, which conjures Hamlet’s Ophelia, if she somehow ended up in a a watery fin de siècle garret. Galerie Isabelle Lesmeister, Regensburg, Germany.
The Montreal-based Mohawk artist Skawennati specializes in machinima, an art form that uses video-game-style CGI to create cartoonishly beautiful imagined worlds. This moody piece gorgeously combines old legends with new technology, depicting the Sky Woman, a figure out of indigenous folklore who falls to earth through a hole created by a celestial tree. Ellephant, Montreal.
The Masked Man
This year’s festival includes a special focus on Latin American artists, including Carlos Colin, a photographer from Guadalajara, Mexico, who’s now based in Vancouver. In his striking image series, his subjects have obscured their faces with vibrant, traditional South American scarves, meant to demonstrate how young people are fighting to preserve their culture. Fazakas Gallery, Vancouver.
The Hollywood Hero
Andrew Valko is part portraitist, part landscape artist. His nostalgic, ’50s-style renderings of old-fashioned drive-ins feature contemporary screening subjects—Natalie Portman, Angelina Jolie and, here, Scarlett Johansson, taking an emotional phone call in the 2014 thriller Lucy. Mayberry Fine Art, Toronto.
The Silkscreen Artist
The fantastical worlds of Quebec artist Cynthia Dinan-Mitchell evoke an abandoned secret garden, cohabited by billowing Victorian flora, fluttering birds and butterflies, and ornate household items, like candelabras, doorknobs and dishes. She draws each design using coloured pencils, then silkscreens them onto textiles—they’re equally stunning whether hanging on a wall or printed on a tote bag. Galerie D’Este, Montreal.
The Quirk Queen
The Vancouver-based artist Carollyne Yardley paints just like the Dutch Golden Agers, except every piece features squirrels instead of humans—she calls it “squirrealism.” She paints squirrelly society ladies with feathered hats and jewels; squirrel mermaids, with flowing hair and seashell bras; and here, a squirrel mask, presumably for a human to wear to a ball. Fazakas Gallery, Vancouver.
At first glance, each of Mike Bayne’s pieces look like the kind of five-by-seven photo you’d get printed at a one-hour kiosk. Look closer and you’ll see that they’re tiny perfect photorealistic paintings depicting the desolate doldrums of suburbia—garages, pick-up trucks, cheap motels and abandoned liquor stores. Katherine Mulherin Contemporary Art Projects, Toronto.
The Money Maker
With every piece she creates, Erika Harrsch commits a felony. The Mexican-American artist collects banknotes from across the world and cuts them into the shape of monarch butterflies. She then arranges them on the wall in a migratory formation that mimics the motion of real wind vectors. Rofa Projects, Potomac, Maryland.
Originally a fashion photographer, the Montreal artist Laurent Guérin has shifted his focus to photojournalism over the past decade, shooting geishas in Japan and ritual bathing in the Ganges River. This shot transforms a shabby night market in Cambodia into a fairyland of lights and revelry. Mira Godard Gallery, Toronto.
The Kitsch King
Each of of Jon Rafman’s clever prints features a classic Bob Ross–style landscape in the background, and a still life of ephemera in the foreground. In this shot, he’s paired an Arctic iceberg with a garage sale’s worth of junk: Febreze dispensers, Sudoku puzzle books, old keyboards and the dregs of a glass of rosé. Galerie Antoine Ertaskiran, Montreal.