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Get to know Emily MacLennan, Recipient of the Mayor's Purchase Award 2022

December 1, 2022

Please meet Emily MacLennan whose work, Bread Factory, is now part of the City of Toronto's permanent art collection through the Mayor’s Purchase Award. Emily’s work brings out the unassuming beauty and nostalgic characteristics of ordinary everyday places and corners in our neighbourhoods with great care and intention. Enjoy discovering Emily’s work and strolling around the city through her paintings!

As some of you know, the 60 Works/60 Years exhibition is a unique show paying homage to the evolving artistic, cultural and architectural landscape of Toronto over the past decades. Bread Factory, along with the works of all the recipients of this award to-date, continues to be displayed at the Market Gallery. You can still catch it if you haven’t already

Our Call for Artists opens today! We are always excited about the Call, as we get to discover new artists. This excitement is even more these days as we expand the reach of the Online Fair to all corners of the country to bring you an exciting international showcase for 2023, like we did this past summer (100+ artists joined us Online Only from across Canada). Please help us spread the word.


Meet Emily MacLennan

Emily's detailed acrylic and watercolour paintings aim to capture how everyday places can develop new meaning. Careful consideration in photographing, editing and then composing the final work creates a new level of familiarity — elevating it in her conscience and nudging it toward the surreal. Gradually, the ordinary becomes important.

Originally from Nova Scotia and a graduate of the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design, Emily moved to Toronto in 2006, settling in the neighbourhood of Little Portugal. She's been painting full-time since 2019, in tandem with working as a graphic designer and raising a family.

Bread Factory/Mayor's Purchase Award, Emily MacLennan, 2020, Acrylic on stretched canvas.

 

From the award judge

The city's art collection acquires art works that depict, engage or respond to Toronto's varied landscapes. Bread Factory by Emily MacLennan shows an alley and a little known bakery in the Dundas and Ossington neighborhood. The mural, garage and the backs of building are familiar scenes to anyone living or traveling through Toronto's many older districts. This work will make a contemporary contribution to the city's collection of urban landscapes and will provide an interesting dialogue with other art works depicting similar subjects, some going back to the early 20th century.

- Neil Brochu, Supervisor, Collections & Outreach for City of Toronto, Museums & Heritage Services

Love Me Till I'm Me Again, Emily MacLennan, 2022, Acrylic on panel.

 

Emily on the award

Winning this award was very meaningful to me, as a person who came to painting in a serious way a bit later in life. It was very encouraging and also affirming to be recognized in this way. I especially love that the city chose Bread Factory to add to their collection, as it has a background story that is very much about people living out their dreams in this evolving city. 

Quality Inn, Emily MacLennan, 2020, Acrylic on stretched canvas.

 

What are you working on next?

I’ve captured many storefronts and alleyways in Little Portugal and Ossington, my newer work reflects an intentional effort to gradually expand and refine my range, in terms of topic and style, and to find inspiration in new areas of Toronto.

View more of Emily MacLennan's works


Holiday Curated Collection

Holiday Gifts
Curated by Meghan Yuri Young

Orchidée papillon bleu, Émilie Coquil, 2022, Lithography on porcelain

from simurgh series 6, Farokh Nooroney, 2021, Mixed media. Still available at TOAF.ca

 

View Holiday Gifts


Calling all visual artists working in all mediums and backgrounds!

Artists can choose to participate:
In-person Fair at Nathan Phillips Square + the Online Fair
or Toronto Online Art Fair

The Online Art Fair runs simultaneously along the in-person showcase at Nathan Phillips Square in July 2023.

Early Bird Deadline: February 28, 2023 (11:59 PM)
Final Application Deadline: March 7, 2023 (11:59 PM)

Apply Here

Art Nest Call is Open

Our Art Nest Call for Proposals is open until January 16th, 5:00 PM.

Art Nest provides emerging and equity-seeking artists with the opportunity to create their first public artworks in consultation with a curator and mentor during the Fair.

Learn More

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