Edward Day Gallery
Contributed by Dory Carr-Harris
Easy to miss if you're not looking for it, the Edward Day Gallery sits in a cosy enclave next to the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA) just east of Ossington on Queen in the continually trendy West Queen West strip. Co-director Kelly McCray is warm and friendly when I meet him to chat: a nice contrast to the cool and lofty space that is Edward Day.
Established in its current location just three and a half years ago, Edward Day has graced the Yorkville neighborhood and Kingston, Ontario before that. However, their new location has allowed them to strengthen the Canadian foundation of their offerings. "The focus is Canadian contemporary in all media," Kelly comments, "we wanted to create a contemporary base outreaching with our Canadian artists."
The gallery, which began as a joint initiative of Mary Sue Rankin and Donald Edward Day in 1992, has acquired the reputation as a sculptural gallery resulting from the flexibility of the space. Edward Day is comprised of two galleries: the forty by forty main space and the smaller eighteen by fifteen "North Gallery". Polished cement floors and minimalist white walls and ceilings create a casual yet clean look that as Kelly puts it "allows the art to speak for itself."
"People don't quite realize until they walk in the expanse of the space. You walk into this incredible feeling of openness." This allows Edward Day to maintain its multimedia catalogue. "With this space we're able to take more risks," Kelly explains.
Hidden from the sight of the main gallery in the front of the building is a quieter sit-down space for wining and dining curators, and with a sightline from the opposite end of the gallery right to Queen, the separate spaces of the gallery are unified in a calming and compelling manner. "The design is fluid and it's so contemporary. It's so wonderful," Kelly gushes.
Part of what keeps this space contemporary is the continual stream of the city's most fashionable people flowing through the gallery. The gallery hosts a multiplicity of events from music events to book readings, and is available for rental for weddings, parties and corporate events (for current rates consult the Edward Day website). Kelly brings this decision into context: "The events are a way of drawing in whole other audiences that would never some in or see the work or know the gallery."
With a range of artists from emerging to mid-career to senior, Edward Day is able to make a significant contribution to the contemporary art scene in Toronto. When I ask Kelly what he thinks this contribution means he pauses, then confidently replies: "If there's a connecting web between the artists, it's the strength of their work. No matter what discipline, it's the strength, the core, the belief system they have that makes them stand out to us. Technically and conceptually they need to have a serious career path in terms of where they've come from and where they're going."