| Follow Us: Facebook Twitter Youtube RSS Feed


The Artist Project Heats Up Toronto’s Contemporary Art Scene

The Artist Project - Opening Party

Contemporary art fair The Artist Project kicks off its 9th year in Toronto with a 4-day art expo taking place February 18th-21st at the Better Living Centre, Exhibition Place.

For art lovers, gallery hopping can be fun, but when temperatures plunge, it’s a relief to be able to visit multiple contemporary artists in one indoor venue. The Artist Project makes this possible, by presenting over 250 contemporary artists from Canada and abroad in a 4-day festival where artists and collectors collide.

Unlike the Toronto International Art Fair, held in the fall, The Artist Project gives artists a venue to exhibit to the public directly rather than through a gallery. This direct interaction gives the fair a lively and informal atmosphere, especially great if you are new to art and have shied away from traditional galleries. For participating artists, it’s a great way to see how people respond to their work while also giving them an opportunity to meet their peers. “I'm hoping to meet other artists and have already begun to correspond with another installation artist who is participating.  Should be a whole lot of fun!” said Philip Hare, who is exhibiting at The Artist Project for the first time this year.

Also unique to The Artist Project is the UNTAPPED area, featuring emerging artists, and the fantastic Installation Zone where 16 different artists create dazzling immersive works.

When you walk into the show you’ll be greeted by ‘Crystal Kings Blazing’, a 100-foot-long installation by Happy Sleepy, collaborative artists Marc Ngui and Magda Wojtyra. From there, you can wander around on your own or join one of the guided Art Walks, focusing on themes including Storytellers, The Great Outdoors and Makers.

In addition to the exhibition, a highlight of the fair is the popular Art Chats, where leading art and design experts help visitors deepen their understanding of art. This year’s Art Chats include a talk by Jason Kucherawy on graffiti art and a conversation with OCAD professors Laura Millard and Jennie Suddick on the question that’s on everyone’s minds -- what makes a work of art “good”?

With so many artists to see it can be overwhelming to know where to start. Top 5 picks:

1. Julia Campisi, a photo-based artist living in Toronto. Her photo collages use forms associated with abstract paintings of the 1960s.
2 or More Pieces, 2015
2. Hugo Cantin, who uses old film stock as the source material of his striking textural collages. Booth 522
Collage #84, Lines: Horizontal, Norman McLaren c1962
3. Mauricio Contreras-Paredes, originally from Guatemala and now living in Toronto. His geometric paintings draw from physics and architecture and blur the line between the present and a dystopian future. Booth U-13, UNTAPPED Emerging Artists
Untitled, 2014.
4. Philip Hare, a Toronto-based textile artist who examines themes of sex, gender and power. Booth I-4, Installation Zone.
Weeping Willow 2013, mixed media
5. Svava Thordia Juliusson, born in Iceland and living in Hamilton. Her sculptural installations manipulate common and industrial materials.
Knots, 2015, Polypropylene twineThe Artist Project kicks off with an Early Access Preview and Opening Night Party on Thursday February 18th. For tickets and more info, visit www.theartistproject.comAll images are courtesy of The Artist Project.

Amrita Chandra is a Toronto-based writer and startup marketer, and former Board Chair of Open Studio, Canada's leading printmaking centre.

Signup for Email Alerts
Signup for Email Alerts