Impressions from the Artist Project 2017

I like going to art fairs. Even though a future in which I can waltz through such an event with a chequebook and pick up original art for the walls of my perfectly decorated lodgings will probably remain a fiction, it is a fantasy that I like indulging in. And sometimes I do end up buying a print, and I never regretted it. Here are some of my favourite artists from this years Artist Project Toronto.

Duncan C. McLean – LOW-RES / HIGH-RISE

By reducing the resolution of his photographs of Toronto high-rises, McLean created a series of abstract images. The strict geometry of pixels meets that of the glass facades, while only slight variations in colour hint to the reflections of other buildings. Some look like Sim City blow-outs, others verge on the abstract. Simple, yet clever.

Low-resolution (pixellated) image of a high-rise building, at sunset.
LOW-RES / HIGH-RISE by Duncan McLean

Hugo Cantin – Mini-Cinema

While visually similar to McLean’s pixellated high-rises, Cantin’s film stock collages swap the digital for the analog. And it’s by zooming in, not out, that the abstract becomes real.

Lightbox containing strips of movie film arranged in parallel.
1955 Human Skeleton Classroom Documentary – 16mm Film Collage by Hugo Cantin

Emanuel Pavao – Tape Art

Pavao’s medium of choice also comes in rolls. His Toronto street scenes are entirely made of pieces of tape and often capture the grittier, stickier aspects of the city.

Toronto street scene depicting a truck covered in graffity, made with coloured tape.
Bold As Love – Tape Art by Emanuel Pavao

Marina Malvada

From the streets of Toronto to the realm of Canada’s singing astronaut Chris Hadfield, who reportedly owns some of Malvada’s otherworldly creations. Her acrylic planetary bodies straddle the borders between hyperrealism and the blurriness of imagination. Also, they would make a great cover for the next La Planète Bleue album.

Acrylic painting representing a blue planet in space, with a astronaut floating above it on the lower left corner.
On Top of the World 2014 24 x 36 Acrylic on Wood by Marina Malvada

Jordan Nahmias – The New (Old)

Back to photography, I enjoyed Nahmias’ moody series of shuttered motels and deserted desert towns.

Photograph of the sky and a mountaintop behind an old motel, with a vintage sign advertising
6 & 40 by Jordan Nahmias

Justin Blaynay – Figurative artwork

Full circle back to reducing artwork to its constitutive pixels.

A pattern of dots and ovals in grayscale display the face of a woman.
Sierra by Justin Blayney

Link dump 2016/4: NoSQL, Mars littering, dams in disgrace and the lost pictures of Antarctica

Link dump 2016/2: Carnegie fireplaces, trains that could and Finnish light pillars

Link dump 2016/1: Modernist libraries, fiction publishing, podcasts and Noah Webster

While I keep working on the draft of my first actual blog posts, let’s see if I can also use this space to keep track of what I recently enjoyed reading:

This week, I also learned that most of American English spelling can be traced to Noah Webster. He axed the extra u’s in colour and neighbour, changed offence to offense and cheque to businesslike check. He’s the one who insisted the letter “z” be pronounced “zee” instead of “zed” (he also wanted “y” to be called “yi” and “w” to become “we”). All this, and much more, from the first chapter of Mary Norris‘ Between You & Me, which is a true delight to read1.

  1. Nonrestrictive clause