Vision: Seeing as Art
June 7, 2021
What do you see? And what does the artist see? Visions can be documented, imagined or interpreted. It is not only about the eyes, but also about how the artist manifests what they see through their intriguing creative process. In this special editorial, let's take a tour to explore works through the lens of some of the remarkable TOAF60 artists. Let's look closely at what they see, and how they see this world.
Spontaneity of Sight
Eddie is a 20-year old high school student with Autism Spectrum Disorder. As he finds language challenging, abstract expressionist art is his way of communicating his ideas and emotions. The beauty of his work emerges from his spontaneous response to colour, texture and the painted surface — pure and unaltered by preconceived ideas. Displaying his love of vibrant colours through his body of works at TOAF60, "Corals" is one of them which amazes you with the instinctive yet sophisticated colour blending techniques. What do you see and feel from looking at his work?
For Karen, she sees the beauty in the scars on Birch trees. Each mark on their white skin is a reminder of lost branches and harm inflicted. "I want to celebrate these scars, the ones we all have, physical and emotional, the ones that make us interesting, make us who we are. I want to bathe my trees in the light and colour that they deserve." Clustering patches of brush strokes, the leaves appear as if they were rustling in the wind. Carefully arranging the colours, it creates a sense of depth, simple yet animating. Karen's vision empowers the liveliness and uniqueness of Birch trees, just like every human being.
The Perception of Healing
Amber's series "Perception" is inspired by grief, and how to move forward with it. After the death of her father, the new normal shifted her perception of reality. "Grief made time stand still in some moments, and fly by in others. Plants were my tether to "current time"." This work may feel sluggish with its saturated, eerie colour palette, while the gentle gradation of shades and hue soothes our eyes. Featuring the fluid delineations of tropical leaves, "Darkest Timeline" sheds light on healing, relaxation and self-compassion.
The Lens of Life
Lori is a photographer who is always searching for opportunities to capture and tell stories. "I look for little mysteries in the mundane, waiting for the narratives to reveal themselves." Since the pandemic, she has been experimenting with more intimate landscapes and abstract interpretations of nature. In this work, Lori uses intentional camera movement and multiple exposures to show a 'zoetic' imagery poetically: the consciousness of living through silence. Strips of light exposure illuminate the breathing creature with prolific branches, awakening under the January radiance after snowfall. It's chilly, sober, and lucid. Her vision truly gives us the glow of nature aesthetic.
Precision for Illusion
Justin uses geometric shapes and pixelated patterns to create optical illusions in his figurative and abstract acrylic paintings and screen prints. With a background in graphic design, his art explores the relationship between pixelation and Optical art through his years of study and technique refinement. It is abstract when you see it up close. When you view from afar, Justin's works 'trick' your eyes into seeing something more. Playing with distance and vision, this "Silent Hunter" perfectly renders the composure of this creature. It quietly penetrates its appearance into your sight.
Perceive with Graphite
"My visual experience is full of uncertainty in spatial relationships, with surprises and subtle puzzles at every turn, making me constantly question the real world." Mark's sight is impaired by antimetropia — one farsighted and one nearsighted eye, leaving him with compromised depth perception. Art is a way for him to explore the physical relationships and the interrelations of time and nature. Entwining layers of mark making and erasing, a vision of waves are unfolded in this work. While admiring the intricacy of Mark's technique and composition, his works often entail insightful symbolism, awaiting for viewers to discover.
These works are available at #TOAF60!
Get to know our 400+ participating artists, enjoy virtual events from July 2-11, and browse our curated collections! TOAF is proud to celebrate the legacy of Canada's longest-running contemporary art fair in a digital format on our 60th anniversary.