Toronto Fall Arts Program: TIFF and Must See Art Shows!

As the Toronto International Film Festival (#TIFF40) grips the city – the streets are abuzz with a flurry of activity (justifiably so, cinema related, but also fine art related too). #TO has emerged from a long, quiet summer with a full on fall program that has been exciting and fetching so far! Not to be eclipsed by the shinning stars, glitterati and celebrities on the red carpet – artists in the theatres and in the galleries have proved worthy of praise…and of attention!

With a plethora of openings last week, my top two shows to see:
1. Sandra Meigs solo show All to All at Susan Hobbs Gallery.
Susan Hobbs Gallery has been transformed into a whimsical playground – every inch is covered by the circular motifs that define Meigs’s latest body of artwork. From the vibrant canvases standing proudly on easels that line the hall, to the colourful clusters of paper cutouts on the walls on the ground floor – this exhibition has a contagious energy that cannot be ignored. The stimulation limitless, yet well balanced – leaving viewers with a fun feeling of observing fantastic art (and not complete oversaturation). The hype is amplified by the inclusion of sound art, with clocks and Sandra’s neat noise boxes (circular tins graciously spinning on loop emitting soft rattle like sounds). The second floor offers a slightly different flavour – plexiglass models covered with flowing white and yellow material “dancing” across the floor. Behind them a mural of large bright circles, reminiscent of suns or halos. Transfixing!
Should you be in the Queen St W/Tecumseth St area at 1pm – Sandra performs a regular, daily chau gong…a worthwhile stop during lunch breaks!

Sandra Meigs All to All runs until October 24th


2. Meryl McMaster’s Wanderings at Katzman Contemporary
Young and hot emerging talent, Meryl McMaster is taking the art world by storm on both sides of the border – with a show this summer at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the Native American in New York (which runs until December 11) and an unveiling of her latest works at Katzman this fall…there is no stopping this prodigy! The photographs featured in Wanderings embrace the virtues of identity, nature and performance (a wonderful touch during last week’s opening included a performance art piece by Johannes Zits). McMaster’s pieces have depth and narrative that are instantly mesmerizing – moreover, the quality and details of the photographs are stunning. Printed on watercolour paper – the colours truly pop (and in particular, Night Fragments you believe the lantern is indeed glowing…magical!).

Meryl McMaster Wanderings on show until October 10th


Under the Infinite Sky by Meryl McMaster (archival pigment on watercolour print)

Under the Infinite Sky by Meryl McMaster (archival pigment print on watercolour paper)

And finally, a TIFF review:
#TIFF40’s Wavelengths platform presents films by artists that push the boundaries of the art of cinema – one such movie by Canadian film-maker/photographer Mark Lewis does just that – his feature film, the virtually silent Invention explores the textures of art and architecture of Toronto, Sao Paulo and the Louvre in Paris. Not for the impatient or festival novices, this cinematic experience really tests its audience (to the limit in some scenes!). The movie opens with lingering shots of a nude sculpture, panning in and out – even delicate details of the piece are captured. Then immediately you are transported into the darkness of Canadian winter with a shot of Toronto’s city hall and then to a few other key locations around the city, observing passersby and the daily routines of citizens at a very, very slow pace. Unfortunately, the shots do not capture the beauty of our fair city, but rather a polar vortex of chilly temperatures and snow. Over the course of the movie, varying and novel camera angles are employed making it difficult for viewers not to feel nausea, including a rather lengthy scene of the Louvre’s main hall filmed upside down. As an art connoisseur my favourite scenes (unsurprisingly) were those within the Louvre’s galleries and the stunning cinematography of Winged Victory so elegantly poised at the top of the entrance hall stairs. Part of the excitement of going to galleries (especially at an institution such as the Louvre), I can spend as little or as long in front of pieces, digesting the artwork before me. In this movie, I’m at the mercy of Lewis and his team, who choose the length of time the camera lingers on Neoclassical painter, David’s Oath of the Horatii for example (longer please!). Although beautifully shot in some instances, I can’t piece together the common thread that links these various scenes together into a cohesive narrative. I’m afraid I cannot give Mark Lewis full marks for this one.

Holly Knows Art.

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