Review: Painting: Toronto’s Modern Masters at Christopher Cutts.

October 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

PAINTING: Toronto’s Modern Masters, exhibited at Christopher Cutts Gallery, provides a mini retrospective of the city’s abstract painters. The display features some of Canada’s most notable artists, including five of the members of Painters 11, who helped launch the English Canada’s international reputation for modern abstraction. They were active from 1954-1960, although many of the artists had prevalent careers outside the group. Their influence on the next generation of Canadian artists, some of whom are presented in the exhibit as well, was immense.

The converted factory two-room gallery space has extra paintings leaning against the walls and a friendly cat roaming its floors, creating an intimate gallery going experience. Ranging from 1962-2000, the large-scale paintings transport the viewer back to Toronto’s art scene in late twentieth century. The works are arranged by flattering colour palettes and draw the viewer through the two distinct styles of the rooms in a natural progression.

However, the exhibit is not for the inexperienced. While you can identify some works due to the artist’s signatures there are no labels and no information is provided regarding the paintings besides a limited card featuring the artist’s names. There is no way to know which painting is which, or who these painters were besides “Toronto’s Modern Masters”. Though this minimalist approach to displaying such expressionistic works better communicates Toronto’s modern era of painting in its entirety—as opposed to separating individual artists and paintings—it leaves little to be understood. Because of this, the viewer is not made to place greater importance on the work of the more famous Painters 11 members but sees all the paintings presented equally.

PAINTING: Toronto’s Modern Masters
features the work of David Bolduc, Dennis Burton, Richard Gorman, Tom Hodgson, John MacGregor, Ron Martin, Ray Mead, John Meredith, Kazuo Nakamura, Gordon Rayner, William Ronald and Harold Town. It runs from October 15th until November 12th.

– Sophia Farmer

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