Local artists impress at the Artist Project

North Torontonians shine at Exhibition Place show to herald spring

Art_Perspectives_columnNEWIt’s nearing the end of winter 2016 and everyone seems to be fed up with the greyness of winter skies, salt stains on their boots, sloppy slushy puddles and a lack of happy sunshine. So it was wonderful to go to The Artist Project art show at Exhibition Place and see 250 artists exhibiting their exceptional work.

This show had everything. There was oil and acrylic paintings, wood, glass, granite and wax sculpture, photography, mixed media, work on paper and encaustic on wood.

One artist had used strips of tape to create his images, finishing up with perfect coats of resin, an acrylic clear coating.

Artwork of various sizes was created on wood, canvas, cloth and melted glass. The styles were equally diverse. There was new age, vintage, traditional and graffiti styles.

What a fantastic opportunity to purchase art directly from the artist and allow your heart and soul to breathe in the luscious colours and shapes!

It’s a big investment of time and money for the artists to participate. The minimum cost is $3,200 per booth, the artists are on their feet 32 hours over the four-day weekend and if you are situated at the end of the show you are dealing with weary attendees.

I love this art show and make a point of going every year. This year I was happy to visit 4 artists from the North Toronto area who are also part of the North Toronto Group of Artists. Their work was fantastic, and like the rest of the show, different from each other.

Kate Taylor was the first NTGA artist I came across. You can see in her work the swirling movement of the natural world. Kate explained, “I am looking to capture the joy and energy in nature. I want the viewer to feel energized and refreshed when living with my pieces. These multi-layered highly textured pieces are created with a palette knife on stained birch panels, allowing the wood grain to sometimes show through. After the piece is finished, I sometimes apply a  resin-epoxy coating to create a high gloss finish”.  Her work was an opera of colour. You could lose yourself in her greens, turquoises, magentas, reds, oranges and golds — she does it all and does it so well! Check out her site www.KateTaylorStudio.com.

A few booths down was another NTGA artist, photographer Lori Ryerson. Wow, her photography was spectacular. Looking at some of her works brought me back to my childhood when everything wasn’t paved and perfect as seen in the run down Desert Inn Motel beneath a dramatic sky.

Another image I liked was a photo developed in metal of a train travelling beside a river. By leaning out of the train, Lori was able to capture not only the passing scenery but also the reflection of the scenery in the high gloss exterior of the train. How she did it I have no idea but it’s everything you want in a photograph: colour, composition and tension. Another photograph showed the distant light  from a lonely cabin engulfed by the cobalt blue shadows cast by the trees, mountains and pristine water.  We’d all love to be in that cabin surrounded by calm.  Lori said, “I want to invite my viewers in by capturing the sensation of serenity, quiet and calmness in an insanely noisy world. Lori’s site is www.focalocity.ca.

My next visit was with NTGA artist, Anastessia Bettas. Her work is encaustic on wood and it is gorgeous, contemporary and big. Encaustic is a wax-based paint composed of resin, beeswax and pigment. It is melted and applied to a wood surface where it is then manipulated with a heating gun. An expensive and tricky process. To quote Anastessia, “I’m drawn to the spontaneous nature of this wax-based medium for its textural and sculptural possibilities. I’m able to draw, paint and sculpt on the surface.”

I see in her work urban grid patterns and city skylines expressed in colours. She is inspired by the work of Jasper Johns and Bruce Marden, which I can see in her work, yet her style is totally unique. Her background colours are tones of cement with black, connecting lines and hits of colour. They are dynamic, strong and cool.

To see more of her work, check out www.AnastessiaBettas.com.

Laurie Foote was the fourth artist from the NTGA. Her work is whimsical and fun and she is not afraid to use colour. Her nostalgic cottage scenes have an under painting (base coat) of turquoise with the building and trees etched in red and filled in with the unexpected colour choice of purple, pink, yellow and lime green.

Her road trip piece has an under painting of red contrasted by shades of green fields and a dramatic purple, yellow and blue sky.

Her website is www.lauriefooteart.com.

Laurie said “everyday life inspires me. My goal is to continue to simplify my work by trying to eliminate the small details and abstracting my subjects.”

I wish I was the girl in Laurie’s painting — running into the golden water, wearing a bikini instead of my ugly winter coat and my clunky winter boots.

I would love to own so many of these art works. They convey confidence of application, a unique way of seeing the world and appeal to my need for colour and joy.

I am truly inspired.