The top art shows in Toronto this spring are dominated, as is rarely the case in the arts, by photography: the Contact Festival will return this May in galleries, businesses, and non traditional spaces citywide. Yet there's much more to see (and smell? read on), including smaller indie gallery shows, cheeky performance art, and a big name auction.
For the keeners: if you were moved by Hoda Zarbaf's "Vaginal Rapture" at the Artist Project, she's got a solo show at Walnut Contemporary for the month of April. If you've yet to see The Unfinished Conversation: Encoding/Decoding at Power Plant, it's up until May 18 (go) before Power Ball's glitz and weirdness takes over on June 4th. Of course, Jean-Michel Basquiat: Now's the Time is on at the AGO until May 10.
Here are my picks for the top art shows this spring in Toronto.
Stephen Bulger Gallery 20th Anniversary (March 24 - April 25, Stephen Bulger)
Stephen Bulger's West Queen West gallery is turning 20, and the landscape in the neighbourhood's art scene has undergone at least a couple of fascinating waves of change in that time. On now, the exhibit includes photographs from all 40 artists the gallery has hosted solo exhibition for, and many more.
Like a Statue (Georgia Scherman Projects, March 19 - April 18)
This three person group show spans five cities of origin: Reykjavik, Milan, Halifax, Berlin, and Toronto (artists are so unsettled). Here, Andrea Maack, David Poolman, Aaron Weldon work with memory and the senses. Most fascinating might be the works of European perfumist Andrea Maack.
Valérie Blass - My Life (March 26 - April 25, Daniel Faria Gallery)
Parisian Laundry (Montreal) sculptor Valérie Blass's My Life exhibit is perfect for a spring show: a mix of the lovely and delicate with the creepy and familiarize. Feel her work ooze out of your subconscious and into life.
Souther Salazar - Attic Transmissions (March 28 - April 25, Narwhal)
No surprise to see Narwhal's Roncesvalles Village gallery on this list - the Magic Pony affiliate have been knocking it out of the park. American artist Souther Salazar's charming and whimsical paintings and drawings in this Toronto exhibit were inspired by his time living in a "scrapper's attic."
Xiao Guo Hui - Feast (March 28 - April 29, Christopher Cutts Gallery)
Toronto painter Xiao Guo Hui impressed us at Art Toronto last year, and this show at Christopher Cutts Gallery should be a deeper look into the Chinese born artist's creepy and contemporary takes on classical painting motifs.
Nature Abstracted (Nicholas Metivier Gallery, April 2-25)
Edward Burtynsky and David Shapiro will join forces in April. Burtynsky's stunning photos from five-year-long project Water are a "natural" (sorry) fit with David Shapiro's textured works on paper.
How Many Performance Artists Does it Take to Change a Light Bulb For Martha Wilson (April 16, Enoch Turner Schoolhouse)
If performance art is what you're after, don't miss Jess Dobkin's performance piece about performance art at Images Fest. Before you turn up your nose - the press release contains art jokes. ("Q: How Many Performance Artists Does it Take to Change a Light Bulb? A: I don't know. I left after 4 hours.")
Love Art Fair (April 17-19, Direct Energy Centre)
Last year's inaugural Love Art Fair, Toronto's version of the Affordable Art Fair, was an impressive showing, although it appeared a little dwarfed sectioned into a corner of the massive Direct Energy Centre. This year, see a huge array of galleries showing contemporary and commercial art in a set up that's better curated than the Artist Project and more relaxed settling than Art Toronto.
Stellar Living 2015 (April 20 - 13 May, Mercer Union)
Bloorcourt gallery Mercer Union's biannual fundraiser features an amazing list of artists including Abbas Akhavan, Suzy Lake, Micah Lexier, Stephen Andrews, Anthony Burnham, Sarah Cale, Tammi Campbell, James Carl, Ulysses Castellanos, Jimmy Limit, An Te Liu, Vanessa Maltese, Sasha Pierce, VSVSVS, and more. The auction is May 13.
Contact Festival (May 1 - 31)
Spanning the entire month of May (depending on the gallery), Contact is the largest photography festival in the world, which is pretty impressive even if only a fraction of it will interest most. Galleries great and small participate, with the opening at MOCCA as a highlight every year. Don't miss the Scott Conarroe show at Ryerson Image Centre.
GradEx 100 (April 29 - May 3, OCAD U)
It's year 100 for 2015 OCAD grads (sorry about the pressure, sensitive ones - you'll be fine!). Book at least an hour or two to wander through the hard work of OCAD's graduating classes and you'll spot names you've already noted around local galleries, as well as yet undiscovered talent.
What did I miss? Tell us about exciting art exhibits coming up in Toronto in the comments.
Photo of Love Art Fair by Derek Flack. Images: Xiao Guo Hui - Nyotaimori, 2013; Scott Conarroe, Works Yard; Andrea Maack, Dual, 2015, multi-media installation, video, sound, Dual scent, confetti, Limited edition video, sound and perfume; Abbas Ahkavan's Correspondences; Edward Burtynsky, Pivot Irrigation #27, High Plains, Texas Panhandle, USA, 2011, Chromogenic print; Valérie Blass, "My Life" (installation view), 2015. Courtesy Artspeak. Photo: Blaine Campbell; Souther Salazar; Jess Dobkin photo by David Hawe
by Aubrey Jax via blogTO