Toronto artists to watch in 2014

The top 5 Toronto artists to watch in 2014

The top Toronto artists to watch in 2014 work with painting, sculpture, photography, and digital imaging to give our retinas the kind of stimulation that just might keep us from spontaneously combusting or praying for an alien takeover to save us from our mind numbing daily routine. While Toronto has a thriving visual arts scene - especially for a place where rent is a billion dollars and you can't throw a tablet pen without hitting some fancy condo (smash?) - here are five artists who have caught our eye, and who will be challenging and defining the arts here in Toronto and beyond next year. Make sure you check out their shows - and follow them on Tumblr.

Jimmy Limit
Sculptor/photographer (in that order, chronologically) Jimmy Limit stimulates with bright colours and absurd forms. His photos look like commercial stock photos, until you get a bit closer and realize the objects photos like "2 Litre Mountain Dew on its side with level" are made to melt your brain. Jimmy Limit is represented by Clint Roenisch Gallery and has a solo show coming up there, but you can see him this month at Rodman Hall for Recent Advancements, curated by Marcie Bronson.

Petra Collins
Petra Collins kept busy in 2013. Part of Tavi Gevinson's Rookie Mag team, she curated and showed in "Period Piece: The Gynolandscape" with Sonja Ahlers. Aside from her work with Rookie and Vice, her photos of Toronto band Trust appeared in Vogue Italia. Then there was that controversial (really, people?) menstruating American Apparel t-shirt. Did I mention this artist just turned 21? You can read about why Instagram deleted Collins' account for a selfie she uploaded there on The Huffington Post, and follow Collins' new Instagram here.

Rafael Ochoa
Rafael Ochoa's digital paintings mess around with classical imagery - think antique still lives and epic paintings in guilded frames rendered into The Sims universe, though obviously, especially when compared to the terrible art selection The Sims had, these read more like futuristic masterworks. Ochoa employs multiple digital-imaging software programs for each piece. The images were made for a world beyond Tumblr, and you can see them this winter when Ochoa shows at Angell Gallery in February as part of Simulators, opening Febuary 21st.

Vanessa Maltese
In Vanessa's Maltese's understated paintings and sculptures, lines, patterns, colours, and architectural elements (this describes a lot of art, but bear with me) make for rare abstracts that are compelling to spend time with - just see it for yourself. Winner of the 2012 RBC Canadian Painting competition ($25,000!), Maltese is part of Micah Lexier's More Than Two and in 2014 she'll show twice at Cooper Cole: her solo show runs from April 10 - May 10, and her work is currently part of Endless Vacation, on until January 18. Read an interview with her here.

Mitsuo Kimura
Mitsuo Kimura was one the stand out artists we saw at the Le Gallery stall at Art Toronto in 2013. The Japanese artist has lived in Toronto for about four years, and participated in the Sanko mural at Queen and Claremon. If you're a fan of psychedelic Toronto illustrator Alex Mackenzie, prepare to feast your eyes. Kimura's ultra detailed psychedelic paintings might just start the first rumblings of a seizure - and then you'll want more, naturally. Read an interview with Kimura in Juxtapoz here and check some work from his 2012 solo show. Then keep tabs on Le, visit Toronto's galleries as much as you can, and watch the skies. Que X-Files theme, and I'm out.

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