Elsie Windsor, Mirror as the Blue Abyss, photo accompanies Sara Angel's guide: Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition Shopping List
THE GRID - 07 / 09 / 2011

Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition Shopping List

Celebrating its 50th year, the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition is not only Canada’s largest juried outdoor art exhibition, it’s also the city’s ultimate offering of affordable paintings, photographs, ceramics and crafts from emerging artists. To help you choose from the hundreds of exhibitors on view, four visual experts give the lowdown on what you should check out and whom you might want to invest in this weekend.

Sophie Hackett Picks

Sophie Hackett is assistant curator, photography, at the Art Gallery of Ontario.


“Windsor is currently featured in Gallery 44’s annual juried emerging-artist show, PROOF. Her art [pictured at top] builds something new and intriguing that is at once photographic and sculptural. By placing mirrors and other objects in her pictures she makes flat surfaces feel three-dimensional.”


“A recent Sheridan grad, Davis was the school’s 2011 graduate show award winner for her ceramics, which are both sensible and frivolous. The lustrous white glaze on her bowls, cups and pitchers beautifully sets off the ornate details on their spouts and handles.”

Rachel Farquharson Picks

Rachel Farquharson is a visual arts writer and exhibitions assistant at Neubacher Shor Contemporary.

A close-up of one of Blair Mclean​'s woodcuts, accompanies Sara Angel's guide: Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition Shopping List

“Celebrated for his eco-inspired art [pictured left], Mclean uses the surface of wood to craft intricate narratives and miniature two-dimensional spaces. Through his use of pyrography, the technique of burning images onto the surface of wood with a heated metallic point, Mclean creates images of houses, trees, and farmsteads that reveal a strong grasp of composition and minimalist aesthetic.”


“Caron’s provocative ceramics are appealing to the eye and offer enough caustic wit to startle any houseguest. Hyper-aware of biological technology’s peril, Caron, who has exhibited in Canada and the U.S., uses art as a rhetorical device to explore the meeting points of the natural world with that of industry and mechanization.”

Bill Clarke Picks

Bill Clarke is a collector, arts writer and the editor of Magenta magazine, an online visual arts quarterly.

A knit and needle-felted bunny by Sonja Ahlers, illustration accompanies Sara Angels Guide

“At an auction where I worked, Ahlers’ work went for just over double the estimated gallery value. Girly childhood imagery dominates her work [pictured left], but it’s never twee. When I look at her stuff, I think: ‘If Stevie Nicks made visual art, it would look like this.’”


“At last year’s TOAE, McMurrich won the best portrait photography award. He creates colourful and painterly digital portraits that bring to mind the work of 1960s American Pop artists, including Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.”

Fidel Pena Picks

Fidel Peña is creative director and co-founder of Underline Studio.

Watercolour drawing by Jay Dart, illustration accompanies Sara Angel's guide

“Last September, Dart won the Audience Choice Award at the Queen West Art Crawl. His work [pictured left], which reflects our vanity, egoism and the absurdity of our lives, has been exhibited in Europe and appears on the occasional album cover. His delicate drawings and watercolours show a poignant sense of humour and outstanding intuition. He forces us to look at ourselves in the mirror.”


“In her hands, animal roadkill becomes art—literally. Masterfully, Puxley, whose work has been exhibited in Ontario and Quebec, turns animal carnage into lyrical taxidermy that she places within frames—a powerful reminder of our fragility. Her charcoal drawings of animals have an equal depth of meaning. Unmissable.”

TOAE runs July 8–10 at Nathan Phillips Square. Free