Artist Spotlight: Joanne Tod (b. 1953)

Place: Born in Montréal; now residing in Toronto

About the artist: Joanne Tod is a figurative painter who rose to fame during a time when many in the art world considered painting to ‘over’, or ethically unjustifiable. However, with quick wit and critical eye, Tod employs irony in her paintings to challenge stereotypes, assumptions, and expectations, while continuously aware of her medium’s implications and historical context. She continues to use her medium to confront and critique a variety of social issues through the guise of high realism paintings.

Joanne Tod, Kiss this Goodbye (1984), oil on canvas

About the artwork: The bleak statement, “WE’RE FUCKED” set apart in space from the lush green landscape, is a clue implied by the artist, to remind us of her medium’s artifice. Tod’s combinations of unlikely subject matter paired with a technique that allows the subjects’ distance are common in her work from the 1980s. Here, nature is defiled by crass words, and an unsettling feeling of impending environmental disaster is implied.

Rent artwork by Joanne Tod from $1200 – $2400 per year.

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Artist Spotlight: Edward Burtynsky (b. 1955)

Place: Born in St. Catharine’s, living and practicing in Toronto.

About the artist: Edward Burtynsky is an award-winning photographer, whose work provokes reflections on the world’s environmental challenges. His large-scale, highly-detailed photographs suggest themes of nature transformed by industry, and industrial progress leading to albeit beautiful, disaster. “These images are meant as metaphors to the dilemma of our modern existence; they search for a dialogue between attraction and repulsion, seduction and fear.” Burtynsky was a recipient of a Governor General Awards in Visual and Media Arts in 2016.

Edward Burtynsky, Shipbreaking #3, Chittagong, Bangladesh (2000), photograph

About the artwork: After the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989, regulations on tankers became tighter and insurance companies changed their policies for many existing ships. Burtynsky traveled to Bangladesh and India for his Shipbreaking series, where massive tankers that no longer met contemporary standards were being torn apart.

Rent artwork by Edward Burtynsky from $60 – $2400 per year.

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Artist Spotlight: Kent Monkman (b. 1965)

Place: Born in St. Mary’s Ontario, and raised in Manitoba; currently based in Toronto.

About the artist: Kent Monkman is a multidisciplinary artist, internationally recognized for his rich and dramatic landscape paintings, installations, film, and performance work. Monkman, who is of Cree ancestry, works to subvert popular colonial narratives by appropriating genres of art and challenging the subjectivity of the original artists. He reinstates Indigenous persons into historical narratives and uses cheeky and dark humour to convey serious messages. His Two-Spirited alter-ego, Miss Chief Eagle Testickle, often facilitates his messaging and humour.

Kent Monkman, Rebellion (2003), acrylic on canvas

About the artwork: In this painting from the series Eros and Empire, the glamorous and notorious trickster, Miss Chief is centre stage. She stands in a 19th century North American landscape, and is offering an apple to a nearby soldier. Here, the artist plays with sexuality and gender to discuss power relationships between First Nations and Europeans. This new version of ‘Eve’ challenges expectations of indigeneity and speaks to the effects of Christian Imperialism on First Nations.

Rent artwork by Kent Monkman from $240 – $2400 per year.

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Artist Spotlight: Shelley Niro (b. 1954)

Place: Born in Niagara Falls, she currently resides in Brantford

About the artist: Shelley Niro is a multi-disciplinary artist who works in photography, painting, beadwork, and film. Her work focuses on themes of identity, and challenges stereotypes and colonial representations of Indigenous peoples, with a particular focus on Indigenous women. With directness and humour, she crafts new narratives based on the past, pop culture, and her own lived experience. These new narratives force us to reflect on history making, representation and memory, while her work champions self-actualization and liberation. Shelley Niro was named the recipient of both a Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts and the Scotiabank Photography Award in 2017.

Shelley Niro, Ghost (2004), photograph

About the artwork: This piece is part of a series called “GHOSTS, GIRLS, GRANDMAS”, produced for the National Museum of the American Indian. According to the artist, “Ghost” refers to ancestors and the energy we receive from them when we contemplate time spent on earth and our own time. Here, Niro juxtaposes contemporary photography with wampum beads, which carry their own historical significance.

Rent artwork by Shelley Niro from $120 – $480 per year.

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Artist Spotlight: Colleen Heslin (b. 1976)

Place: Toronto

About the artist: Colleen Heslin constructs dynamic paintings using experimental dying techniques on second-hand domestic fibers. Her combination of formal abstraction with quilting and craft explores the genres’ limits and challenges the traditional genders associated with them. She addresses what she considers to be the post-medium state of painting through these techniques. Her process summons new forms through explorations of surface, texture, and mark making, while her practice lends us a commentary on contemporary excess, and is steeped in the political and art-historical.

Colleen Heslin, Dead End (2014), ink and dye on cotton

About the artwork: Made of ink and dye on cotton, this piece employs Heslin’s methods of deskilled production. Instead of building a canvas frame she quilts one. Instead of painting directly on canvas, she soaks it in saturated dye baths. These methods result in a support that also functions as a surface, and by doing so she challenges the constructed tradition of painting.

Rent this artwork by Colleen Heslin for $960 per year.

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Artist Spotlight: Guido Molinari (1933-2004)

Place: Montréal; with periods spent in New York City

About the artist: The name Guido Molinari is synonymous with abstract painting, and his work has played a fundamental role in the canon of Canadian contemporary art history. While suffering from tuberculosis at the age of 16, the artist read Nietzsche, Sartre, Piaget, and Camus, which informed his existentialist approach to art. He was a leader in the development of a rigorous colour abstraction in Montréal, and pioneered a non-figurative painting movement: the Quebec Plasticien School. He inspired many fine art students during his lifetime.

Guido Molinari,
Structure Triangulaire Bleu-Rouge (1971), acrylic on canvas

About the artwork: Guido Molinari’s paintings are often recognized for their modular and contrasting colours, shapes, and lines, as well as the artist’s characteristic style of vertical, hard-edged bands of colour and their divisions. In the early 1970s, he began to create checkered paintings using triangular forms – demonstrated here in Structure Triangulaire Bleu-Rouge.

Rent artwork by Guido Molinari from $180 – $3000 per year.

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Artist Spotlight: Jacques Hurtubise (1939-2014)

Place: Originally from Montreal; moved to Cape Breton Island, NS in the early 1980s

About the artist: Jacques Hurtubise was a key figure in Canadian abstract art. A painter and a printmaker, he was best known for his bright, hard-edge, abstract paintings. During the early 1960s, he worked in New York where he was acquainted with abstract expressionism and action painting. He also worked alongside contemporaries Claude Tousignant and Guido Molinari, in Montreal. Rooted in Quebec Modernism, his long career has seen many shifts, from explosions of colour and form, to the removal of them; his painterly technique is informed by his printmaking past.

Jacques Hurtubise, Peinture No.40 (1962), oil on canvas

About the artwork: Peinture No. 40 demonstrates Jacques Hurtubise’s signature style, of early abstract work. The painting features bold colours, hard edges, and a spontaneous painterly flair. He was the recipient of the Canada Council’s Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award in 1992.

Rent artwork by Jacques Hurtubise from $120 – $3600 per year.

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Artist Spotlight: Jérôme Fortin (b. 1971)

Place: Born in Joliette; he works in Montréal

About the artist: Self-taught artist Jérôme Fortin creates sculpture-installations by meticulously transforming found objects into unique, multi-faceted compositions. His artwork combines the essence of 17th century ‘cabinet of curiosities’ with our contemporary practice of mass consumption. With common everyday materials, he forms sculptures that reflect exotic objects: flowers, shells, jewellery, and amulets – formerly collected by the ‘Curious’. Fortin’s methodical, patient, and repetitive practice creates new meaning in our everyday, even throw-away objects.

Jérôme Fortin, Solitude 1 (papier romans) (2002), folded books under plexi

About the artwork: Solitude 1 is part of a series, where hundreds of books were collected, transformed, and arranged into tableaus. The artist’s process for this piece involved meticulously folding pages to create dramatic texture, repetition, line, and form. With this piece he lends himself the spirit of solitude and isolation, spending more time folding pages than reading them.

Rent artwork by Jérôme Fortin for $720 per year.

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Artist Spotlight: Jean-Paul Riopelle (1923-2002)

Place: Born in Montréal, he worked in Paris, and between his two studios near Giverny, France and in the Quebec Laurentians

About the artist: Jean-Paul Riopelle was an internationally renowned artist, best known for his abstract paintings. In the 1940s he joined the Quebec Automatistes, a group of spontaneous painters who drew on their subconscious for inspiration. He later moved to Paris, continued to produce great works, and made connections with eminent artists. He returned to Quebec in the mid-1970s. During his career he attained fame and gallery representation in Paris, New York, and Montréal, and become one of the most internationally recognized Canadian painters of his era.

Jean-Paul Riopelle, Sans Titre (1960), gouache on paper

About the artwork: During the 1960s Riopelle explored new mediums. Sans Titre, a gouache work on paper, was painted in France and resisted trends of the French avant-garde at the time. The work employs tachisme, a 1950s French style of art, characterized by irregular dabs and splotches of color, applied haphazardly. He used this style with his own technique, of paints applied with palette knife and trowel.

Rent artwork by Jean-Paul Riopelle from $360 – $3600 per year.

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Artist Spotlight: Isabelle Hayeur (b. 1969)

Place: Montréal

About the artist: Isabelle Hayeur is a photographer and video artist who captures altered landscapes, focusing on environmental destruction and urban development. She manipulates her images to be more disturbing than the originals and reiterates the constant manipulation that human activity has on environment. Her work criticizes our neoliberal-sociopolitical context, which privileges economy and resource extraction above all. By highlighting the flaws in our systems and the destruction of the natural world, her work evokes alienation and distress while challenging our perceptions of progressive society.

Isabelle Hayeur, Décharge (1998), photograph

About the artwork: This photograph depicts a river, drained to reveal stark basins, bonelike rock formations, and swampy stagnant pools. Beautiful at first glance, this image of quiet destruction criticizes Quebec’s aggressive northern hydro-electric projects. Beyond her environmentalism, the artist’s work often challenges authenticity and the tradition of landscape photography.

Rent artwork by Isabelle Hayeur from $720- $960 per year.

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