20070414_burtynsky.jpg

Suffering In CCCA's Silent Auction

Am I the best painter in Toronto? There was little at the Centre for Contemporary Canadian Art (CCCA)'s silent auction Thursday to suggest otherwise. Mediocre painting is commonplace in this city, but I'm saddened every time I see it. Of the entire show, taking place on the second floor of the Gladstone Hotel, the two best pieces were photographs.

Edward Burtynsky's piece "Rock Of Ages #24" was awesome. It's a photograph of a rock quarry but it has a very abstract, painterly quality that reminds me of English artist, Cecily Brown. The other piece I liked was "In Song" by Suzy Lake - a poster sized photo of and old lady's mouth. Her lips are covered in red lipstick and tensed into an O shape. The best part is the subtle amount of chin music (whiskers) at the margins of her face.

20070414_SuzyLake.jpgOld people are apparently the CCCA's main concern. One girl working the event explained to me that the organization is currently focused on the preservation of older, more historical works. I did, however, recognize some of the paintings as being the work of practicing contemporary painters from around town. So she may have been lying to me. New or old, the exhibitors who generously donated their work to raise
funds for the Canadian Art Database Project were drawn entirely from the database itself. So . . . it's for a good cause?

I know I sound like a jealous a$$#ole and to be fair, I'm not leveling this criticism at the CCCA any more than I would at most of the galleries on Queen West. However, I don't just speak for myself. There are all kinds of talented painters in Toronto - I know a few myself. Why they so rarely get into galleries or shows like this one I don't know. Anyone else have any ideas?

*The large photo is "Rock Of Ages# 24" by Edward Burtynsky
*The small photo is of "In Song" by Suzy Lake


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