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Juror's picks for TOAF59!

June 10, 2020

This year we had our first ever virtual Jury panel review nearly 800 applications to bring an eclectic and wonderfully curated collection of artists to the 2020 TOAF. We've gathered a few of their favourites. Be sure to check out the 2020 Jurors here.

Micah Adams


Caribou: Kangaroo Pin, 2.8x2.8x0.2 cm, Coins, Cut-Out Canadian Quarter, Cut-Out Australian Penny

Playing with scale, Micah transforms familiar objects into hand held sculptures and jewellery. He looks for uncanny relationships in the material world that would otherwise go unnoticed. Everyday objects become readymade miniatures: a Zippo lighter is a tiny fireplace, plants cut from coins become a miniature bouquet of flowers. Preferring the intimacy of laborious hand skills, Micah works in deliberate contrast to high-tech modes of production, altering found objects with a repertoire of manual techniques.

Micah Adams’ work invites people to see ordinary things differently. Everyday objects are turned in inimitable ones that are whimsical and beautiful.”

Nithikul Nimkulrat, TOAF 2020 Juror

Ross Bonfanti


Heavy Petting Zoo, 8x9x8", Concrete, Toys, Steel

Ross Bonfanti, a graduate of OCAD, uses discarded stuffed toys and other thrift shop finds to construct original sculptures, predominantly made in concrete. He relates his own emotional experiences to his work while commenting on commodity fetishism and our disposable consumer pop culture. The juxtaposition of materials, creates an arresting tension between the expectation of softness and the reality of hardness. His works are touched with humor and pathos. 

“Ross Bonfanti creates stuffed toys from cement, transforming a comforting and familiar object into something monstrous and disconcerting. But there’s still an element of humour and something cute in these creatures, suggesting that even in their dark weirdness, they are still loveable.”

 Lee Petrie, TOAF 2020 Juror

Keith Eager


Flood, 2016 60 x 60 x1", Oil on Canvas

Keith Eager’s current work explores themes of destruction, masculinity and celebration. These themes are articulated through personal narratives and popular cultural narratives depicted in painting. The work initially emerged as a mining of memory, small moments of crisis and bliss. The works included fit within the broader scope of an unsettling, visceral, often photo based realism within contemporary painting.

What strikes me most about Keith’s work are the compelling and suggestive narratives that he’s able to communicate through his paintings. Despite depicting subjects that exist within the realm of the ordinary and everyday, there is also an air of the uncanny, something unsettling and ominous, that grabs my attention and holds it as my eyes and mind search for an ever evasive sense of resolution.”

Rui Pimenta, TOAF 2020 Juror

Kal Mansur


Sojourn 2, 27" Diameter, 2.75 Depth, Solid Acrylic Sculpture with Painted Acrylic Elements

Kal Mansur has been producing acrylic sculptures since 2006. Their primary work consists of a translucent acrylic case containing dimensional components that are receptive to light. Available light casts internal shadows, illuminates blocks of pulsating colour, and allows the observer to visually travel through the composition. This kinetic quality is foundational to my work, creating a hybrid between gestural abstraction and the pristine constructions found in minimalism.

“Kal Mansur’s work is full of contrasts: hard edges and blurred forms, fluorescent lines and dreamy colours. While they are flat, they appear dimensional; they are both atmospheric and architectural. They are static, yet seem to be illuminated from within. The effect is mysterious and gorgeous.” 

Lee Petrie, TOAF 2020 Juror

Alisa McRonald


But I Heard you Say it, 30x32", Punch Needle Yarn on Burlap

Alisa McRonald is a visual artist who has studied tapestry weaving & textile art. Her exhibits include solo shows at Capacity 3 Gallery (2017&19), a weaving project at the Guelph Enabling Garden (2015), yarn-bombing the Textile Museum of Canada (2010) & 2 large-scale performances at HaNNa Gallery in Tokyo (2000 & 2003). She has been featured in publications such as “By Hand: The Use of Craft in Contemporary Art” (2006).She teaches & acts as a creative mentor to several agencies & centres.

“Alisa McRonald paints and sculpts with a punch needle and colourful yarns, resulting in highly dense, textured sculptural pieces that are packed with stories.”

Nithikul Nimkulrat, 2020 TOAF Juror

Charlize Nhung


Untitled (Brooch) 2019, Sterling Silver, Steel, Gold Plated

Charlize Nhung Nguyễn is a Vietnamese-born Canadian craft artist. With a background in architecture and jewellery arts, she often works at the intersection of contemporary design and its medium. After receiving her BFA from OCAD University, she began her practice as an Artist-In-Residence at the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto. Her work has won commissions, awards, and scholarships. She has exhibited throughout North America and Europe.

“Artists whose work appears as a hybrid of different genres or disciplines are often the most interesting and best suited at showing off an exciting sense of imagination and originality. Charlize’s work falls into this category for it is jewelry that also reads as small works of sculpture. I’m especially taken by the rough edged and deceptively “unfinished” look of her work, for it has the ability to challenge and question the very definition of jewelry and its more typical associations with preciousness, delicacy and the all too predictable notions of beauty.”

Rui Pimenta, TOAF 2020 Juror
 

Get to know the Jurors → 

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