Appreciating art doesn’t need a college degree. It just needs some time to focus and examine shape, colour, light and cultural context. This year Art Toronto‘s attendee crowd seemed slightly younger than it has in previous years (or perhaps I’m just older) but there was a still a sense of class. We all share the same world, and artists takes bits and piece of the world we live in, filters them through their vision and talent. Art Toronto provides the chance to see their perspectives and insights clearly mounted on display.
Various art galleries from around the world contributed pieces of their collection, expertly selected representations of world artwork. Lithographs from America, photos from Kazakhstan, and of course a considerable number of contributions from Ontario’s community of galleries. After enough browsing its possible to look through the artworks and develop an impression of reasonable sensibilities.
Common subjects were natural landscape – the beauty of the stark planes, and also the majesty of mountainous topography. The crucial aspect of the event to understand is that the detailed masterpieces have depth and textural qualities which have to be seen in person and can’t be captured on film. And abundant images which combine the familiar with the abstract; images you can tell are commentary are society but leave you wondering what the artist meant, and “Why is the sky made of squares?” While usually common, depictions of human figures in states of undress were rare this year..
Not to say all artworks were masterpieces. The subjective nature of art means every individual values pieces differently, what astonishes one person might be mundane to another. Yet many pieces show a definite level of technical accomplishment that can’t be denied. For people with the money to spend who find the piece they love, most artworks were for sale, but prices were usually over a few thousand dollars, so the more economical observes just appreciate the artworks while they’re on display.
Since taking in all the artwork could take all weekend, the VSVSVS nap station is a very welcome idea for people who need a chance to rest. While the Carosel from “BGL” was a bit exhilarating. Amalie’ Atkin’s “Three Minute Minute” was exactly as long as it needed to be to convey it’s surreality. The “Ultima” set-up by Nicholas Di Genova was a large model city filled with hundreds of miniscule citizens in states of surrealism and hedonism.
It’s nice to have a chance to see the Toronto Convention Centre when it isn’t filled with cosplayers, but art affectionates use the same basic reasoning skillset to analyse emotions on canvas that Gamers use to analyse the latest Halo game. There was more artwork than in any almost any comic book (even ’52’). Toronto needs more events which are stimulating without being consumerist, ones which are about sharing inspiration more than just vending.
-Michael Ryan, October 287, 2014
“So what do you take from this one?”