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Canadian Art…The New Pioneers


Sure, there are slick, often intimidating commercial galleries and imposing museums housing contemporary art from coast to coast. But today’s art world calls for some non-tradtional thinking.

VoCA pays tribute to eight Canadian art organizations that are thinking outside the white box.

1. Wedge

Seydou Keïta: Untitled, 1950-1955. Image: ©Association Seydou Keïta, Bamako, Mali/recirca.comn

Toronto’s Wedge Curatorial Projects began life back in 1997 as a gallery inside the home of collector Kenneth Montague. It recently moved into the Burroughes building on Queen West, and is dedicated to photo-based work exploring the black diaspora and issues of identity. Over the decade, Wedge has hosted exhibitions by Jamel Shabazz, Dennis Morris, Dawit Petros, Seydou Keïta and others.

For the websiste, please click HERE

2. No. 9

This new “curatorial agency” facilitates ambitious art projects in the public realm in order to stimulate positive social and environmental change. Each project will allow the public to learn about environmental issues and the value of creative thinking. No. 9, based in Toronto’s Centre for Social Innovation, will include extensive public education programs like artist lectures, children’s after school programs and architectural and design projects that highlight sustainable practices.

For the website, please click HERE

3. Goodwater

Nestor Kruger, Monophonic at Goodwater Gallery. Image: goodwatergallery.com

John Goodwin, owner of Goodwater Gallery, has a day job. That’s why he is able to commission artists like Kim Adams to create extravagant wall-drawings inside his storefront space in Toronto’s east end. A gallery in the purest sense, Goodwin feels little pressure to sell the work that he shows. You’ll find work by some of today’s finest artists show here; past shows have included a white wall painted white by Sally Spath, a long hallway by Nestor Kruger or a photographic installation by Richard Prince.

For the website, please click HERE

4. The Other Gallery

A drawing by the Royal Art Lodge. Image: royalartlodge.com

Artist Paul Butler set up his “web-based nomadic gallery” after a challenge from his father. He ended up breaking the mold for online art sales by focusing on less expensive works on paper by some of Canada’s hottest young artists, including the Royal Art Lodge. Being based in Winnipeg has only added to his considerable cachet.

For the website, please click HERE

5.Clint Roenisch

Clint Roenisch’s booth at TIAF. Image: courtesy Clint Roenisch

The “poor” aesthetic of Roenisch’s storefront gallery with its bare lightbulb, hastily scrawled signage and wall labels has already been blatantly imitated. Lately Roenisch has been experimenting with radical installations, hanging Marcel van Eedens’ drawings vertically across his gallery space, and designing an unconventional booth at the Toronto International Art Fair, complete with industrial wall railings and a paper bag placed elegantly in a corner which we mistook for a work of art.

For the website, please click HERE

6. The Magenta Foundation

Phantom Shangai by Greg Girard. Image: magentafoundation.org

Canada’s “pioneer charitable arts publishing house” has been in existence since 2005 and will soon have published 2 volumes of Carte Blanche, a showcase for Canada’s considerable emerging photographic and painting talent. This year saw the publication of the beautiful volume Phantom Shanghai by China-based Canadian photographer Greg Girard. They also continue with their annual exhibition and book Flash Forward, which focuses on emerging photographers.

For the website, please click HERE

7. DHC Art Foundation

Bjork and Matthew Barney in Drawing Restraint 9. Image: pingmag.jp

A new, privately owned foundation in Old Montreal, DHC/ART “aims to be a leading venue for contemporary art…with dynamic programming which reflects the global nature of art today.” What that means is that its program of exhibitions, commissions, events and special projects brings work by internationally-based artists – like Matthew Barney, David Altmejd and Nancy Davenport – to Montreal. The current exhibition of work by British sculptor Marc Quinn is his largest ever in North America.

For the website, please click HERE

8. CSA Space

Ben Reeves, Smoke, 2006. Image: equinoxgallery.com

This independent project space in Vancouver is where many of the city’s hottest young artists get their start. Owned and operated by Christopher Brayshaw, artist Adam Harrison and Steven Tong, CSA’s exhibitions are by invitation only, and have so far included the much-buzzed-about photographer Mike Grill, Evan Lee, Owen Kydd and Ben Reeves.

For the website, please click HERE

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