Sunday, March 18, 2007

Toronto Art Expo

I spent Friday night hanging out with a couple friends from work at the Toronto Art Expo. We had dinner at Marinela's first, which is, I think, one of the best Italian restos in Toronto, particularly in terms of quality and value. I've been there a handful of times and it never disappoints. If I recall correctly, I had the linguine with clams my first time there and I was impressed with how many clams there were. I like pasta, but I'm sometimes hesitant to order it over other mains because I find some restaurants skimp on the good stuff to maximize on the margin. Not Marinela's. I ordered the Fettucine di Mare last night and there were 2 honkin' whole scallops, a generous lobster tail, shrimp, mussels and crab legs. And it was just the right serving size. Mmm mmm good.

We hit the expo around 7pm and given the sheer number of artists present, we tried to be fairly systematic about our walk through the show. 1.5 hours in, we realized that we would have to step up our pace if we wanted to see all the artists because the expo closed at 10pm.

This visit was meant to be a reconnaissance mission. I was going to scope out the talent and get a sense of what kind of price points the artists I liked were asking for so that a year or two from now, when I am ready to buy art for my place, I'll have a price and object in mind.

So what did I find? A LOT. While I picked up cards for 20+ artists the themes were fairly consistent amongst them. I obviously like flowers, I gravitate towards works that have an Asian feel to them, and I prefer bright, bold colours.

Of the many artists there, I'd have to say that my favourite was Danielle O'Connor Akiyama - and it was because of her work that we stayed after close. We had made our way to the escalator to leave when my one friend who has been collecting art for a number of years now played the little devil on my what did we do but ride the escalator down and back up again so that I could take a second look at her paintings!

I love Akiyama's style - flowers figure prominently in her work, but there's something very energetic and dynamic about them. And I love the brilliant colour of her palette. I was taken with 2 canvases in particular, both of which, of course, were on the high end - they both cost more than my ring!

I couldn't help but think again that if I had kept all my bonus like in years past instead of playing the responsible card and rolling half of it into my retirement savings, I could have bought me some art! But no. I did so I can't and now I'm sad. There may still be hope though. I should be getting a tax refund back this year, so maybe....just maybe...I can still swing it. Hope springs eternal, non?

Anyway, here are the other artists that I've got on my radar:

Andrea Maguire - there's something just this side of eerie and lonely to her large favourite was Spirit Dancer
Anne Drouin - I'm loving her orchids
Bert Liverance - I loved his 2 large orchid canvases but they are way out of my price range
Claustro - very cool, sculpted paintings
Debra Jackson - I saw her last at the One of A Kind show late last year
Dianna Last - she was super-nice and explained her interesting photography using old-school film and dark room techniques
Eric Tardif - I'm pretty sure I've seen his sculpted wood birds in a Toronto gallery before and I was taken by how beautifully fluid they are. I want one and a small bird is certainly in my price range....
Giampietro Filippetti - colourful, mosaic art
Ingrid Kay - I was taken with her treescapes
Jennifer Lawton - vibrant florals
Jeremy Bortz - fields of flowers, my favourite was probably Red Dahlias
March Gregoroff - there's a luminous quality to the canvases
Maura Joy Lustig - my favourite is this one
Miri Peer - I was tempted by her Rhapsody in Purple, which again, was in my price range...
Monika Aebischer - there's something very whimsical about her work
Patricia Morris - I love the light in her paintings
Paul Saari - I don't know why but I like
Robyn Drage - I like her Seasons series
Sri Prabha - his abstract work with the gold leaf is gorgeous - this is my favourite
Steven Nederveen - there's an Asian feel to his work that I love...they're sort of moody too
Sandor Monos - this little sculpture was my favourite - I love how sleek she looks, yet there's such detail in her braided hair
Samantha Sandbrook - I love the layered, old-world/new-world feel of her work using the encaustic method - my favourite is the Oriental Poppies

Obviously I'll have to narrow my scope some.

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