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Art Fair, Shows to SEE and What to Be for Halloween

Hello everyone this is Humboldt, I hope everyone had a great Halloween weekend, or is still planning on dressing up tomorrow.  I encourage everyone to dress up as something art related, perhaps an obscure art reference. I am personally going as Marina Abramović , and I am planning on having staring contests with strangers until they cry. I suggest going as landscape painting or Cindy Sherman (which gives you a lot of options)   Besides Halloween there were a lot of great things happening in Toronto, here is a quick recap and recommendation for what you should check out. 


Toronto’s art scene was in overdrive last week given that for the duration of the art fair, lots of out-of-towners, including gallerists, artists and their collectors were here.   It was an exciting time, and though the focus of the art fair is on the collector, the art lover and artist had a lot to look at, ponder, and be entertained by.   Including informative talks presented by the Power Plant, a bright and welcoming installation by the Instant Coffee Collective and the potential to rub elbows with some of your favourite artist, and thinkers. 


I think you have to take the art fair with a grain spoonful of salt because though it is a big event, it can definitely feel like things are missing.  Even though there is the “Next” section and works from the RBC Emerging Artists Painting completion hung on the walls (mostly, unfortunately, in the VIP room where I was excluded from seeing) there was not a lot of emerging practices.   The work in general sits very comfortably in what is accepted in institutions/collectors’ homes, so that work that is harder to collect such as video art, or performance seemed absent.  However the talks that happened seemed to bridge that gap, where Life of a Crap Head and Chantal Pontbriand spoke about performance and its impact.  Some of the standout artwork in my mind was found at the booth of Daniel Faria and Parisian Laundry, in particular the wax sculptural painting by Iris Häussler and Janet Warner’s beautifully emotive paintings.  I also love this sculpture that looked like a leather rock cozy, or perhaps rock carrying case.


Also that weekend there were openings at both Daniel Faria and Scrap Metal (galleries a quick walk away from Xpace Cultural Centre).  I would suggest making an afternoon trip and checking out all three exhibitions because they are all not to be missed.  The work at Daniel Faria has recent drawings and sculpture by Derek Liddington. I would make sure to pick up the clipboard with the title page because there is so much information and tone, embedded in the titles.   I highly suggest going to Daniel Faria’s openings for nothing more then to check out the hot muscly bartenders, who may seem out of place, but whatever they are a hot, and funny addition to the standard opening event. 


At Scrap Metal there are three major works by Shary Boyle, Sarah Sze and Joana Vasconcelos who all have experience exhibiting at the Venice Biennale.  All the works are extremely detailed, with very charming uses of familiar material and you can see the amount of labour put into each piece.  Shary’s work is not only beautiful but gets your imagination going trying to figure out the connection between the figures she constructed out of plaster.  What is great about her practice is that it is both embraced by institutions, and the general public as well as fellow artists.  I can’t tell you how many times I have walked through the studios at OCAD or probably any other art school in Canada and have seen a cut out photo of Shary’s work taped as inspiration in someone’s studio.  You know you are doing something right if other artists love your work.