quick n dirty top 10 art people of 2010

With only minutes till midnight on New Year’s Eve, I have arrived back at the ALP blog from holidays winter camping and in the hinterland of Parental dial-up scourge.

Though of course, I could have composed this post over that time but this is the essential problem with blogging – doing it is easy when you do it, and easy to not do it when… well, you get the idea.

So without further adieu, I madly throw an idea up and reflect on an amazing 2010 in Toronto for the arts and for myself.

Ten personalities in the Toronto and contemporary art world who struck me as significant on different levels

10. culturshoc gallery | I was curator in this indy and sophisticated multi-purpose space and learned the value of grass-roots and emerging artist communities. Dana and Val are typical of a type of people I so respect and admire for their vision and character to even attempt such a noble and romantic endeavor. Alak, the space is gone from Queen Street West but the good news is there will be more condos and vintage clothing stores in that spot.

9. Clint Roenish | Perhaps the best smaller independent gallery in Toronto. Every show is worth a visit – and the space is located beside the Museum of Canadian Contemporary Art. Honestly, what else do you want? The closest thing to a “sure thing” for an area to visit for good shows.


8. Everybody | No, I am not kidding. What I actually mean though is there is so much art goings on in Toronto by so many people that there is a sort of a constant hum, a noise, going on in the background of my mind. That’s the sound of everybody that I wish I could meet, and see their work.

7. Bill Blair | What the hell is the  police chief of Toronto doing on this list? Because, my friends, if we look at his dreadful handling and spinning of the Toronto g20 summit as performance art, then he may be the most brilliant performance / media artist of our generation. Think about it – lying about the legal rights of a fence, arresting anyone with a french accent, sweeping near empty parks with lines of  riot police and calvary. Brilliant. Absurdist. Surrealism to invoke the envy of both Dali and fascists throughout history. The fact that Bill presented foam play swords as proof of imminent danger and his attempt to stir distrust in the digital images of his cops beating a man up proves he understands that life in meaningless and this is the only way we’ll understand that. Thanks Bill and I support the arts, so I hope you enjoyed the billion dollar exhibition grant.


6 Charles Hackbarth | Who is Charles? Just a Toronto artist who prolifically paints, makes music, writes, has a family and a job that consists of helping people. Why would he not be on my top ten list?


5. Shary Boyle | I know, I know. She’s everywhere and on everyone’s top 10 list. But maybe my reasons are a little different from most – I simply think it is awesome that for the last two decades, ceramics has been largely discounted and discarded from school programs and exhibits. Shary just took the stuff and made herself perhaps the most relevant artist of 2010.  See for yourself.


4. Trevor Burke and Lauren Burke | Who are Trevor and Lauren? Another type of people I greatly admire and respect – the ambitious and talented who move here to participate in the art scene and show us something no one has seen before. Toronto is very fortunate to draw this kind of new blood to it and is vital to the health of any art scene in any city.

3. Edward Burtynsky | This photographer of man-made landscapes is hot. Hot hot hot and may represent a peak in contemporary art photography.


2. She was the real deal of elder Canadian painters and passed away this year.


1. My mom | Bev obtained her BFA  from Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick and studied under Alex Colville and Lawren Harris jr and never stopped painting and finding her own way of painting people. Mom has been working this year on portraits of our entire family and I think they are brilliant – so unique and deceptively understated precise, small strokes. She still takes community art classes and is always surprised when the instructor asks her for advice. She is my favourite artist of 2010 because I am very proud of her work and especially with the lesson that the act of painting is one of questions and experimenting and reflection.

Happy new year everyone!

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