Last week I spent 2 days gallery-hopping at theToronto Contact Photography festival. It’s always a treat to see so many photographic works being exhibited at the same time. This festival shows photography work all around the city of Toronto (from local and International artists) but it’s mostly concentrated downtown.
- Heidi Leverty — Tincarnation 13
I go to these events purely to see good photography and to get inspired. I LOVE seeing work that moves me even if it is outside what I normally consider to be ‘my’ subject matter. As with most photography festivals, the majority of the work doesnot appeal to me. Photography for the most part is a one frame deal and if I have to look too hard for the deeper meaning, or work to see the greatness of the shot, then for me the photograph makes me go “meh”. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE symbolism, I love images laden with themes and I love double or triple meanings in an image but SHOW it to me. Don’t embed the gold too deeply in the image, make the gold shine. Don’t make me go back to a text on mythology with an obscurely titled photograph, show me something universal that moves me now.
There were far too many exhibitions to see them all but I did see a good 20 exhibitions. I should say that I missed at least 3 shows purely because I could not find them.Herman & Audrey is a show that I would have LOVED to have seen. I drove to address the on Dufferin, in fact I planned part of my day on that show since the gallery opened at 4pm.…nothing there to indicate any exhibition there folks…and no phone number either.
So here were the shows that intrigued me the most with a brief review:
-Barbara Probst — Exposures — This was a cool show; 12 cameras all set up in different locations, photograph the same scene from different angles. The resulting large scale photographs all taken at the same moment, are presented in an interesting and cohesive way. 1450 Dundas St. W — 416–537-3125
-The Skin you Love to Touch — Jodi Bieber, Lauren Greenfield, Zed Nelson — I thought this one was very intriguing showing the ‘skins’ of very different people and their relation to marketing, consumerism, perception and self-perception. 80 Spadina suite 310
Ben Ng -Exposed: Pervasive Influence — Gladstone Hotel on the second floor ( a great venue at 1214 Queen St. W. with MANY exhibitions). I found Ben’s landscapes extremely well done and very striking. In particular the printing quality is just fabulous. Most of the images were hand-painted; meaning they started off as black and white images and then selected parts were hand-painted. It looked to me like they were hand-painted old school (as opposed to doing this much more easily in Photoshop) which means that you apply paint to the actual photograph.
My fave — Sometimes you’ll walk into a Gallery that is showing one main artist and other artists intrigue you even more. This is what happened atBau-Xi Photo with their main exhibition At this Moment by Zoe Jaremus, which overall, I liked. Bau-Xi is located at 324 Dundas tel # 416–977-0400 and their gallery was my favorite stop of the entire exhibition. I discovered 2 artists there whose work struck me immediately;Heidi Leverty (whose image is featured in this post) andAnthony Redpath. Heidi’s work is AWESOME and has tremendous impact. She only had 2 (large — around 32 x40 inches) images that were exhibited but Robyn who works at the gallery showed me some additional work. Her work depicts large scale recycled materials presented in an abstract yet extremely compelling way. Anthony’s work was even larger in scale and his exhibited image Trailer Park Party (64.5 x 96 inches) is excellent and incredibly sharp. Special thanks toRobyn McCallum for the extra information she gave me.
My apologies to all the artists whose work I missed. If you are reading this and want to send me some links to your work, I’m all eyes. Special thanks toJoe Cormier who gallery-hopped (literally — he has a sore leg) with me on day 1. He also showed some fab work at this festival atMoos Gallery.