Friday, October 26, 2012

Art and Fashion at Art Toronto 2012

Art Toronto 2012
Photo by Ingrid Mida 

Henry David Thoreau once said "This world is but a canvas to our imagination." And clearly imagination has taken flight and come home to roost in the artwork on display at Art Toronto 2012 in the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. This venue is jam packed with artful delights from around the world, including galleries from Vancouver, New York, London, and Japan.

Fashionable folk at ArtToronto 2012
Photo by Ingrid Mida
Teddy Bear at ArtToronto 2012
Photo by Ingrid Mida 
I attended last night's opening night gala party as media at the invitation of the Art Gallery of Ontario and initially looked for an overarching theme. I didn't notice an obvious trend but I did see a few teddy bears. When I discussed this with one of the gallery owners, he said in jest, that it made sense "since it was a bear market". 

The Winsor Gallery booth from Vancouver featured the work of Toronto artist Angela Grossman, whose photo-based collage images capture the beautiful awkwardness of adolescence. Recently Angela started experimenting painting with bitumen on ledger paper, creating gestural figurative works that are mesmerizing in their fragility. She told me that this process is fraught with danger and she has only one chance at it, but she finds this both "exciting and addictive". 

Angela Grossman
Courtesy of Winsor Gallery Vancouver
Photo by Ingrid Mida 2012
In my search for art that intersected with fashion, I came across the work of Sanae Takahata from Galerie Paris in Japan. Her dress sculptures are acrylic painted on canvas and are entitled WEAR ME, even though they are not wearable. 

WEAR ME #25, #29, #27 by Sanae Takahata ($7500 each)
Courtesy of Galerie Paris, Japan
Photo by Ingrid Mida 2012

At Galerie SAS from Montreal, the delicate pastel on paper works of Veronique La Perriere called out to me. Although they do not translate well in a photograph, the intricate detail and ghost-like apparitions wearing 19th century dresses resonated with my research into the embodiment of memory and dress artifacts. Apparently Veronique studied the royal costume archive in Sweden this past summer and "felt the presence of the wearer" as she was creating these images.

Series by Veronique La Perriere ($1500)
Courtesy of Galerie SAS, Montreal
Photo by Ingrid Mida 2012
At the Tyler Rollins Fine Art booth from New York, I was struck by the textile work of Pinaree Sanpitak called Bare Silhouette in which she incorporated part of a traditional Thai garment into a textile panel using embroidery. Pinaree often references the female body, specifically the breast as a universal life giving force, and has started working with garments as a source of inspiration since her son started attending fashion school in Europe. Alongside her work is Red Buddha by Jakkaii Sirbutr which incorporates Thai textile amulets and speaks to the idea of fashionable and unfashionable elements. 

Bare Silhouette by Pinareer Sanpitak (left) and Red Buddha by Jakkai Sirbutr (right)
Courtesy of Tyler Rollins Fine Art Gallery, New York
Photo by Ingrid Mida 2012
The Michael Gibson Gallery from London Ontario had photographic works by Diana Thonegraft that included Barbie and Ken dolls. My favourite was Nighthawks (What Would Jack Bauer Do?) which reminded me of Hitchcock's movie The Birds. This gallery also featured Winnipeg artist Aganetha Dyck who has used honeycomb to invoke the idea of decay in the piece called "An inconvenient Proposal". I was told she has become allergic to bees and is now working with wool.

An Inconvenient Proposal by Aganetha Dyck ($4,500)
Courtesy of Michael Gibson Gallery, London
Photo by Ingrid Mida 2012
Alex Katz (left), Aganetha Dyck (middle), Doris McCarthy (right)
Photo by Ingrid Mida 2012
It can be intimidating to walk into a gallery, but Art Toronto is an inviting and friendly way to experience contemporary art from around the world. The show is this weekend,  October 26 - 29, 2012 12 noon - 8 pm (Friday & Saturday); 12 noon - 6 pm (Sunday & Monday).

Art Toronto 2012
Metro Convention Centre North Building
255 Front Street
Twitter @ArtToronto
Tickets: Adults $18, Students/Seniors $14, Children Free

Notice of copyright: 
All text and images on this blog are the copyright of Ingrid Mida, unless otherwise noted. The copying of posts, images and/or text without proper attribution is violation of copyright and legal action will be pursued. 
If you are reading this post on a website other than, please let me know by sending an email to me at