Art Toronto 2015

Francis Bacon lithograph. Photo by Dan Nuttall
Francis Bacon lithograph. Photo by Dan Nuttall

Although the art world reveres the unconventional, it is rife with conformity. Artists make work that “looks like art” and behave in ways that enhance stereotypes. Curators pander to the expectations of their peers and their museum boards. Collectors run in herds to buy work by a handful of fashionable painters. Critics stick their finger in the air to see which way the wind is blowing so as to “get it right”. Originality is not always rewarded, but some people take real risks and innovate, which gives a raison d’être to the rest.
― Sarah Thornton, Seven Days in the Art World

It’s always somewhat of a conundrum to attend an art show as an artist.

Sumptuous and invigorating work by David R. Harper
Sumptuous and invigorating work by David R. Harper

Established galleries continue to sell what has always sold. There’s a Rita Letendre and an Ivan Eyre, a Walter J.Philips, a Francis Bacon lithograph, a Mary Pratt, members of The Group of Seven. This is the art that has created a lasting correlation between cultural and economic value – the art that is part of a market that has displaced more traditional forms of investment. I love these artists and their work.

“Swamp” by Denyse Thomasos

Then there are the galleries endorsing newer and often “unproven” artists. Rife with fresh ideas and holding new mirrors at strange angles, these galleries and their artists reflect our culture, our times, back to us. There is a criticality to the new galleries and their artists – one can see the production of “new” knowledge. Technology has its grip on modes of production and ways of seeing and interpreting.

Here’s to risk and innovation!

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