The Artist Project 2012

Concentration by Julie Himel

The Artist Project delivered a feast for the eyes and the heart this weekend in Toronto. Beginning Thursday night, two hundred incredible artists populated the Queen Elizabeth building at the CNE, each with a unique perspective, skill set, and visual vocabulary. We were proud to see work by several of the talented artists that Norman Felix Gallery is privileged to represent, including Sarah Tacoma, Julie Himel, Pete Kasprzak, and Rhiana Sneyd. Some individuals came from around the world for this event, including action painter Nissim Ben Aderet who travelled all the way from Israel to be in the show.

At the Preview Party on Thursday night, performance artist Clara Venice set the tone for the evening by serenading the crowd with elegant, romantic songs. She played the Theremin as her “second voice,” and made us feel as though we were floating from booth to booth with her ethereal music. This four-day event was a powerful testament to the strength of the international art community, and a reminder of just how limitless human potential is for creative expression.

Performance artist Clara Venice

The artists from our Norman Felix roster contributed impressive work to the mix. Rhiana Sneyd enchanted viewers with her large-scale, bold streetscapes, which capture the feeling of wandering through the city on a sparkling, rain-drenched night.

King 3 by Rhiana Sneyd

Sarah Tacoma soothed the senses with her ethereal, layered depictions of the wilderness. Julie Himel’s paintings spoke as a testament to her stunning creative evolution and artistic maturity – realistic, fresh-coloured, and so skillfully rendered as to practically look alive.

Crabapple by Sarah Tacoma

Pete Kasprzak was selected for an interview with Rogers TV! There is no doubt that his newest works deserved the attention. Kasprzak’s process of painting over digitally manipulated photographic prints, which in this case were taken on a trip to California, is an innovative technique with striking results. His pieces are moody, enigmatic, and impossible to ignore.

Behind the Scenes - Hollywood by Pete Kasprzak

All around, we are truly thrilled to work with artists that display such genuine dedication to their craft.

There were some intriguing, bemusing, and outright hilarious trends apparent at this year’s Artist Project. Human/animal hybridity was one such trend, seen in the highly realistic yet disconcerting work of Richard Ahnert. Ahnert depicts animals with human bodies engaging in day-to-day activities – dogs going to business meetings, goats posing in tracksuits, and many more subversive, impeccably painted scenarios.

Nate's Last Stand by Richard Ahnert

Tony Taylor pursues a similar idea with equally interesting but stylistically different execution, opting for a minimalist aesthetic. Tara Krebs also depicts hybrids, however her work is far more whimsical, and contains elements of surrealism.

Necking in Davos by Tony Taylor

Batterfly by Tara Krebs

We were wowed by realist painters Mara Minuzzo, Laura Payne, and Andrew Verhocekx , among many others. Mara Minuzzo’s clean, crisp images, several of which feature blown-up versions of her son’s lego toys, are gorgeous and touching in their innocence.

Bank Robber by Mara Minuzzo

Laura Payne presents large, overwhelming portraits of celebrities, which are fascinating to the naked eye and can also be viewed through 3D glasses to become convincingly lifelike. Her technical abilities alone were mind-boggling.

Spectacular by Laura Payne

Andrew Verhoeckx took reality to the next level in his hyper-saturated depictions of urban life as one could only hope to perceive it. He explained with a twinkle in his eye that “this is how I see the world all the time”. Admittedly, we’re a little envious.

New World by Andrew Verhoeckx

There were so many gifted people at this event that it would be impossible to do them all justice in this post. The Artist Project was truly an inspiring, eye-opening event. Seeing such a variety of talent in an environment bursting with positive energy reassured us of the vitality of the art industry. Those who attended would most certainly agree that it was a delight to the senses and the mind, and those who missed it this year will just have to experience it for themselves next March. We are truly thrilled to work with artists that display such genuine dedication to their craft.

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