Art Toronto 2012 - October 26 to 29

Art Toronto 2012
October 26-29, 2012
at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre

I had a chance to preview the vast Art Toronto show just before the hordes of people started to line up at about 11:30am (not kidding about the hordes).

The show is set up in sections, with emerging galleries in one area, more established galleries and traditional art in others.

There's way too much for this to be a "best of" - just a bit of a sampling. It's a real art junkie's heaven, with a cross section of just about everything there is on the market, albeit with a leaning towards paintings and photography. Young Canadian artist Clint Neufeld's playful sculpture/installations (at the Derrell Bell Gallery in Saskatoon) were a notable exception.

The galleries come from all over North America, Mexico and South America, Europe and Australia along with a great sampling of Asian art in the Focus Asia feature of this year's show, where galleries representing artists from China, Korea, Taiwan, Japan, India and Southeast Asia were invited to participate.

The results are wonderfully varied. Some of the other special features:

- The Next Section of emerging galleries and edgy artists
- the Canadian Art Magazine area with exhibitions that will change daily and a talk each day at 2pm
- along those line, many talks and guided tours
- at the Contemporary Art Galleries Association booth, (and organization based in Montreal,) artist Jim Holyoak began a piece on site Thursday night that he'll be completing over the weekend
- a bookstore on site right beside a publications lounge featuring some of Canada's stellar art magazines
- a roboticized gamelan - the Gamelatron - specially commissioned for the show from Brooklyn based artist Taylor Kuffner that consists of a series of gongs set up at mezzanine level along the railing (you'll see what I mean when you get there!)

Some other stuff that caught my eye:

At the Jonathan Cooper, Park Walk Gallery (London, U.K.) - I was struck by Simon Gales' vivid and very design oriented paintings and a wonderful pair of hand hewn ceramic rabbits by Tanya Brett - you can check her out at work in a video at this link.

The Pegasus Gallery of Canadian Art from Salt Springs, BC, who specialize in historic and investment quality Canadian art, including the usual suspects - Group of Seven, Painters Eleven, Cornelius Krieghoff and more as well as Northwest Coast First Nations Art.

Naturally, the Robert Rauschenberg BMW Art Car is a focal point and includes riffs on classical art like Ingres reclining nude on the side.

The Focus Asia features added a lot of depth to what has grown into a truly international show. I was drawn to the pieces in many of the galleries, including the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) from China, Gallery Sumukha from Bangalore, India and Galerie Pici from Seoul, South Korea, among others.The work is vibrant and has a thoroughly contemporary sense of identity that has little to do with any preconceived notions of 'what is Asian'.

There's also a solid contigent of Montreal galleries with some outstanding work, including Galerie de Bellefeuille and Art Mûr.

Perhaps the best news of all is that I was hearing about sales already before the show had formally begun, including one of Tanya Brett's hare sculptures. The piece specially commissioned for the show and sold in support of MoCCA is a really gorgeous aluminum cut out piece by Toronto artist Ed Pien - and only one was left as the show opened.

- the Robert Rauschenberg BMW Art Car
- Xianjing Yan, Cloudscape (part of the curated 'Beyond Geography' exhibit)
- Clint Neufeld at the Darrell Bell Gallery (Saskatoon)
- Ullens Center for Contemporary Art
- Paresh Maity at Gallery Sumukha
- Galerie Pici
- Art Mûr