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Moira Ness: Best of Art Fair 2019

April 3, 2019

We hope you have been following our Instagram and keeping up-to-date with profiles of TOAF's excellent artists and 2018 award winners. It has been a true pleasure to highlight our award winners' unique and exciting perspectives and stories for you.  

The time has finally come to introduce you to Moira Ness, winner of TOAF's most prestigious title: the Catherine Bratty Award for Best of Art Fair. Our deepest thanks to Catherine Bratty for her generous donation of and $5,500 towards this award and her ongoing support of exceptional artists of TOAF.

Bruce Evesartist, curator, and recipient of the 2018 Governor-General’s Award in the Visual and Media Arts, selected Moira out of 360 artists, noting that she is an artist to watch.

“Moira is one of the most original photographers I have come across in a long time. She has an excellent eye, sense of graphic design, and a distinct lighting that makes these photographs unique. The minimal background isolates the structures, making them look beautiful and dangerous.”

Read her interview in her own passionate and honest voice. It is quite touching to hear that she directed some of the funds from her award to buy art from fellow artists. More than anyone, she knows that one of the many steps of engaging deeply with art and artists is owning works of art that she loves. Moira also volunteered with TOAF this past Fall as she wanted to give back to the community. We learned so much from hearing her perspective and experiences at TOAF and beyond. 

Moira's passion, enthusiasm and dedication to her work and our community is contagious and inspirational. Let's continue to bring this energy forward into the 58th Edition of Toronto Outdoor Art Fair.


“Caledonia,” 2018, 30 x 20 inches by Moira Ness

Meet the Artist

Moira Ness is an interdisciplinary visual artist living in Toronto and working out of Northern ContemporaryArtist Studios in Roncesvalles. Her ongoing photography series “Nightscapes”, which explores the GTHA’s empty streets at night, has been exhibited extensively throughout Southern Ontario. Moira has exhibited at The Los Angeles Center For Digital Art, Akasha Art Projects, Lakeshore Arts, Northern Contemporary, Gallery 44, Roman Susan Gallery, Red Head Gallery, Latcham Gallery, The Art Gallery of Mississauga, Narwhal Contemporary, OCADU, and The CICA Museum. 

Her more current work experiments with minimalistic text-based painting. Through data mining her own personal archive, she creates confessional and romanticized text by utilizing a word organizing algorithm. The algorithm scrambles groupings of source text, repurposing the archive into new work.

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“Trafalgar,” 2018, 30 x 20 inches by Moira Ness

Interview with the Artist

What did you like best about being a part of the Fair? 

The sense of community, with all of the artists, visitors, the TOAF staff and volunteers. We all share this massive passion for art, so the conversations are always super engaging (I bring a notebook every year to write down conversation points!). They automatically understand my base foundation as an artist and I always feel at home in my booth talking with everyone! This show is a wonderful way to connect with new collectors and reconnect with past fair friends, but I find it to be a time for inspiration, as well. The conversations I have always lead to new ideas for series or pieces. I always look forward to July so I can see all my people and talk ART! A huge shout out to the other side of our TOAF community, our wonderful volunteers who help mind our booths (among many other tasks) - we are so appreciative. Another mention needs to go to the hard working TOAF staff: the facilitators that work year round to make this fair the huge annual success it is. Thank you so very much, you guys truly are the greatest. 


From left: Anahita Azrahimi, Bruce Eves, Moira Ness, Alex Ciappara (TOAF Board Chair)



What did winning the Best of Fair Award mean to you?

I was absolutely blown away! Being the last person sitting on the stage, I honestly thought a mistake had been made. I felt a whirlwind of emotions when Anahita announced my name; pure joy, relief and a lot of gratitude. To have judge Bruce Eves say your work is the best in the Fair is quite an uplifting feeling. With so many talented and equally deserving artists in the Fair, it made it that much more special winning this award - truly the ultimate validation at TOAF for me as an artist. With the generous prize donation by Mrs. Catherine Bratty I was able to buy some art from my fellow artists at the Fair (something I wouldn’t be able to do usually) and was also able to pay off some art debt (archival framing is crazy expensive!!!). 

How has winning your award affected your career?

Most importantly, it has allowed me to continue my art career. Between balancing studio time and making money outside of art, it is sometimes hard to make ends meet as an emerging artist. With the boost in confidence this award has given me, I also have started working in new mediums. I’m now really enjoying using text in my new work, something I have always worked on but had always kept very private. The professional and personal connections I made at TOAF 2018 were countless, I really think having that “award winner” banner up in your booth helped start many conversations.


“Vaughan Mills,” 2018, 30 x 20 inches by Moira Ness


Moira in the studio with new work, some of which will be on view at TOAF19.

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