6 Top Contemporary Canadian Artists to Buy This Week

This October, Artsy has partnered with Toronto-based auction house Waddington’s to host their biannual Concrete Contemporary sale. Ranging from monumental photography to masterful watercolors, this auction encompasses the best of contemporary Canadian art. Here are 6 of the talented artists whose included work continues to push the boundaries of this genre. 

Edward Burtynsky

Internationally acclaimed artist and environmental activist Edward Burtynsky has dedicated his life to photographing vast industrial wastelands across the globe. Saturated with texture, detail, and color, his artwork seduces the viewer despite the evident natural destruction he captures. This powerful tension is intended to mirror modern awareness of our harmful dependence on the planet. 

Michael Adamson

The ribbon-like quality of Michael Adamson’s strokes in Super Capacitor speaks to the artist’s interest in palpable texture and dimensionality. Despite the strict geometry of this painting’s composition, the expressive individuality of each line of paint allows the colors to vibrate within their contained, diagonal trajectory. Haliburton Landscape Possibility similarly showcases how Adamson honors the language of paint above all else, providing one of Canada’s most compelling visions of abstract art. 

Nicolas Ruel

Nicolas Ruel has gained international acclaim for his use of a double exposure technique in which two cityscapes are interlaced in order to generate a dialogue between their contents. Origine, Light Series, Montreal, Canada, 2006, represents one of Ruel’s springboards for this project, as the artist uses a narrow focus on light to explore variation in opacity and fine detail. His choice to print his photographs on stainless steel accentuates the tension between the material and the elemental.

Kim Dorland

Concrete Contemporary features two works by Kim Dorland, each hauntingly powerful and steeped in the dark history of the artist’s upbringing. While Skull exhibits the sculptural intensity made possible by Dorland’s signature impasto technique, Dead Tree exemplifies a masterful application of color and opacity. Dorland’s ability to so viscerally wield these disparate mediums speaks to his position as one of Canada’s premier contemporary artists. 

Shelley Adler 

Shelley Adler’s portraits stem from the artist’s obsession with the human face. Adler harnesses pastel palettes and exposed lighting to establish a level of intimacy and vulnerability with her subjects. While this technique is evident in Untitled (Zoe in Evening Cream), the subject’s turned gaze and blurred contours simultaneously adds a layer of inaccessibility that speaks to the artist’s larger interest in female strength and resilience. 

Barbara Astman

The three works from Barbara Astman’s series, Scenes from a Movie for One, are representative of the artist’s signature practice of manipulating photography. By xerox-ing and scratching into these enlarged self-portraits, Astman replaces her representative presence with a physical one, emphasizing the materiality of her medium. The innovative use of reproduction techniques has defined Astman’s career, and paved the way for other artists to reconceptualize the classifications within art-making.

Explore Waddington's: Concrete Contemporary on Artsy, and place bids on more than 60 works. Bidding closes on November 3rd at 7:00pm ET.

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