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Stock Up on Collectible and Covetable Art at FUTUREPROOF

Raise your virtual auction paddle – the art available at Open Studio’s annual fundraiser is too good to let pass you by

By Tory Healy

Calling all art collectors and wannabe magpies: here’s some good news for you from Open Studio. Tucked away in the iconic 401 Richmond building and now celebrating its 50th anniversary, the artist-run centre, dedicated to offering affordable printmaking facilities, programs and services for contemporary artists and the public, has just kicked off its annual fundraiser (dubbed FUTUREPROOF).

What makes the auction different this year? Well, thanks to the pandemic, the call to action is urgent and the event is virtual. Funds raised will secure the institution’s future which, as is the case with many of the city’s art fixtures, is endangered. From October 7th until October 19th, you can support the non-profit production space by bidding on a curated selection of contemporary art including painting, photography, textiles and sculpture by established artists and galleries from the Toronto arts community.

There are over 100 lots to consider from just about as many artists, many of whom are Canadian superstars. To get you in the mood to shop and support, we’ve gone ahead and highlighted 10 pieces we’re ready to raise the paddle for.

Micah Adams’ Penny Perimeter 1937-1980

Adams is an experienced metalsmith, ardent coin collector and incredible etcher. His passions collide in impeccable line drawings (like the faceless penny above) as well as in minuscule sculptures (do check out his Instagram @micahadams.ca) that straddle the jewellery-art object divide. Here’s a short piece we ran on him in 2018.

AA Bronson’s Red Hankie #2

A founding member of General Idea, 74-year-old Bronson, now a solo artist, is also credited with initiating the Art Book Fairs in New York and Los Angeles. Prolific and profound, every medium and subject Bronson touches – have you heard about A Public Apology to Siksika Nation? – turns to gold.

Katie Garth’s Best Laid Plans

I chose to include this cyanotype by Philadelphia-based Garth simply because it made me chuckle a little to myself. Don’t we all have those days where we prepare best we can for what’s ahead just to have it veer off course? The colour she chose, to me, highlights both hope and futility. I love that she contrasts banal everyday objects with chaotic surroundings to emotion-evoking effect.

Alexandra Hatanaka’s Crusher

We ran a feature on the PA System (of which Alexa is cofounder) some years ago in the magazine and I was fortunate to visit their studio and learn not just about their subject matter (the environment and community-building) but the people with which they work in Nunavut. How thrilled am I to see one of Hatanaka’s pieces, this Linocut on Haini Kozo paper with forged iron ink, on offer? Very.

Meaghan Hyckie’s Rises 1

Braids, row housing, parquet flooring – the eyes wander all over this prosaic/intriguing screenprint as the mind attempts to figure it out. And the happy colours confuse the somewhat ominous message. The work of Hyckie, a Torontonian, is new to me but I’m now a follower – the artist’s Instagram is where she reflects on the pandemic and the sanctuary she finds in working.

Alex McLeod’s Midnight Stars

“A forest at night, that is both seemingly familiar and unknown,” reads McLeod’s artist statement about this piece. And while vague it sums up how we often feel about his computer-generated landscapes built from both sourced and custom-made elements: that the scenes are both recognizable and alien, beautiful but slightly sinister. Get to know the artist – and about his own art collection – here.

Darren Rigo’s Funky Bunch

Odd and alluring is how I would describe artist Rigo’s photography. And like this bunch of bananas, you’re never quite sure what you’re going to get when he releases a series. Still life, landscapes, portraiture: every photo is a work of art with a weird twist that you often must scrutinize to find. Happy hunting!

David J. Trautrimas’ Seeing What Doing Nothing Changes

I think what made me an early fan of Trautrimas’ is the architectural precision with which he renders his compositions of everyday objects. Laser-engraved on paper, these entities stand in for humans in all-too familiar environments, casting shadows and emoting in their own ways. His is the type of work where the voids are considered as much as the subject matter.

Joy Walker’s Untitled (Red)

Walker’s work is an exploration of geometry and pattern, and while seemingly exacting, it is often the result of play and chance. Her Instagram (@joyninawalker) is an intoxicating reveal of process, of her tests and sketches and even mistakes, all of which inform her art forms whether they be rendered in print, photography, drawings, video and sculpture.

Jacob Robert Whibley’s Up-to-date and out of time

A member of the former Toronto illustration collective, Team Macho, Whibley is a breakout solo artist working primarily in collage and sculpture. As can be seen here, with this abstract block print, modernist art, architecture and design are all obvious influences on his work which often utilizes found materials, including, in this case, a map of Canada.