Art Toronto 2018 (to Sunday, October 28) is one of those exhibitions which appeal to many tastes: from Impressionism to high realism, from pop to printmaking, and of course all the work is up for sale. So if you were wagering to spend 13K, you'd get the latest, the original, and a one-of-a-kind object for which an artist has spent untold hours preparing.
Our painting group at MIWSFPA facilitated by prof Shawn Serfas engaged in a discussion of "shorthand" - a term perhaps likened to a spontaneous careful gesture using any medium. I tried to look for any presence of this feature in a volume of labour mostly universal and heavy. Where were the quick freestyle flowing watercolour portraits? Many works, including high definition watercolours were for sale while on the other hand, one acrylic canvas offered a simple searching meaningful graphite line around a reclining nude larger than life. Artists were attempting to address climate change without scenes of disaster in a missed talk, while I missed another talk about interpretations of social injustice such as news of "kneeling football players", or old news of the OJ Simpson murder trial. The "beautiful" desert, the action of light on water, or highly expressive plastic sculpture raised an eye, and the slightly ubiquitous presence of life-size mannequins (some robotic) was surprisingly humanising in this highly stressed and competitive business genre.
A series of paintings by Lisa Kehler will appeal to nature lovers. Kehler merges the softness of the female figure in an interplay with earth coloured geography in a way that is both sensual and relaxing. Equally, decorative fabric, as well as paintings incorporating repetition of form, were represented.
If it's possible to assess the impact of these works on their ability to address the social, political, and human effects of societal challenges with potential cultural change we might ask will the show initiate any of this?
Mutterings in the background on my returning train diverted thoughts: Gord Lightfoot, Frank Sinatra, basketball gambling and so and so's love of the bottle. Yes, perhaps it's all art too as I sit wondering what it would take for public conversations like these to get around to civil action on issues that Art/TO shouts.