David Balzer’s Four Art Toronto Faves

Canadian Art
Oct 26, 2013 6:23PM

Every day of Art Toronto 2013, Canadian Art‘s editors are posting their thoughts on the big event, and then discussing them live at 2 p.m. at our fair site, Booth 940. Today, associate editor David Balzer—also a contributor to the Globe and Mail and other publications—rounds up four of his Art Toronto favourites.

Chris Curreri at Daniel Faria Gallery (Booth 902)Chris Curreri is an artist to watch. Part of Toronto dealer Daniel Faria’s small, cherry-picked roster, Curreri has a sharp, intelligent eye for the pleasures and pains of beauty. Curreri is best known for his interest in the dynamics of studio portrait photography; his reference points span Muybridge to Mapplethorpe, and include art-historical painting. At Art Toronto, Curreri shows new work, a prelude to his upcoming solo show at the gallery, “Medusa,” opening November 28.

Janet Werner at Parisian Laundry (Booth 1002)It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Janet Werner’s deviant, gestural, cartoonish portrait painting. This year at Art Toronto, Parisian Laundry shows two new, fantastic works; for those who’ve followed her career, it’s especially interesting to see the latest iterations of her ongoing deconstruction of the female figure. And Werner’s had a big year, with a nationally touring retrospective of recent work, which opens at Montreal’s Galerie de l’UQAM next Friday, November 1.

John Gould at Roberts Gallery (Booth 440)It was great to see the positive reception that accompanied old-school Toronto dealer Roberts Gallery’s recent exhibition of work by late local draughtsman John Gould—and even better to see the work, some of it rare, all of it lamentably devalued in the stories we tell about art in this city. Gould may strike some as overly mannered, but because he was so dedicated to drawing, we now have access to all his quick work, which evinces his brilliant, inimitable touch. I particularly covet the surrealist Peekaboo Box, the cover of a cigar box he used to wipe his brushes on and out of which he decided to make a figure.

Saimaiyu Akesuk at Feheley Fine Arts (Booth 700)The best contemporary drawing in Canada is coming out of Cape Dorset, and at Feheley Fine Arts’ booth you will find a fine cross-section of established and emerging names. Itee Pootoogook, Siassie Kenneally and Nicotye Samayualie complement better-known figures like Shuvinai Ashoona and Ohotaq Mikkigak; all are dazzling and worth a close look. I’m very fond of Saimaiyu Akesuk’s simple, blobby drawing with the title-to-beat-all-titles, Lemming’s Buttocks Are Dirty.

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