Art Nest: a home for public art explorations
Location: Art Nest, Nathan Phillips Square
Art Nest is a new TOAF programming initiative that provides six artists – having either current or past experience participating in TOAF – with an opportunity to push the boundaries of their individual art practices beyond the physical and conceptual limits of the fair’s iconic 10 x 10 square foot tent.
We find ourselves in a time when so many ideas around monumentality and permanence in public art are being questioned and dismantled. Equally important is the question of who the intended and excluded audiences are, not to mention the obstacles so many artists face when it comes to gaining access to opportunities for creating art for the public realm. Art Nest looks to contribute to these conversations through this diverse collection of newly commissioned artworks that explore the meaning and future possibilities of public art, as well as the general public’s role in that relationship.
Curated by Rui Pimenta
Behind Art Nest with Asad Raza
Art Nest Artists talk about their processes and imaginations behind creating their first large-scale public artworks in an engaging conversation facilitated by Asad Raza, an expert in public art. Tours highlight three different artists on both Saturday and Sunday.
Rui Pimenta practiced as a visual artist from 2000 – 2014, exhibiting his work extensively in Canada and internationally. Since then his creative focus has shifted towards programming and curation. In 2009 he founded Art Spin, an arts organization now entering its 13th year of presenting site-specific, multidisciplinary programming in unique/alternative spaces and best known for its bicycle art tours. He was the Co-Director for Median Contemporary (2008-10) and has curated projects for the Toronto Artists Project, the Toronto Outdoor Exhibition, Eastern Front Gallery and the Government of Portugal. He has served on various arts council juries, was a member of the City of Toronto’s Public Art Strategy Advisory Committee and currently sits on The Bentway Advisory Committee. His curatorial aspirations are largely motivated by the enthusiastic pursuit of creating engaging and accessible ways to present art in public space.
Building futures & other things, 2022, Hand-dyed acrylic, epoxy and resin
“Art Nest allowed me to create my largest sculpture to date with funding and grants from the Toronto Arts Council & Ontario Arts Council (exhibition assistance). I have been focusing on creating more work that responds to the scaffolding and how our bodies move around temporary structures in urban spaces.”
Julia Campisi is a visual artist based in Toronto who re-makes overlooked items from our industrialized world. She uses the term ‘cultural debris’ to describe the mundane objects, which she makes in prefabricated acrylics and liquid plastics. Her use of material and subject matter speak to ideas surrounding consumption and development, finding metaphor for human existence in the utilities that mediates it. Her re-makings are not merely an act of reproduction but a subversive gesture that is meant to disrupt the complex archaeology and relationship we have with objects, material and ultimately ourselves. Julia Campisi has exhibited works in Toronto and abroad, including New York, Paris, Amsterdam and Ottawa, amongst others. Her artwork has been published by New York Magazine, Junior High Magazine in Los Angeles, and her written articles have been published by CBC Arts, The Artist and Viewer in Toronto. Her work can be found in private and public collections including the Ottawa Art Gallery and Bisha Hotel.
Building futures & other things; Julia Campisi, 2022, Hand-dyed acrylic, epoxy and resin.
Intervals of thread and the optics of space, 2022, Paracord rope and steel
Macro Weave, 2020, Thread and acrylic
“I had a very wonderful experience at art nest. As an artist working in Installation, it was really great to be able to express my work on a larger scale, where the confinement of a tent was not a limitation. I was really drawn by the rich history and architecture of Nathan Phillips square, which was the basis of my research. Rui Pimenta, who carefully curated the project, was a great help throughout the process from start to finish. During the duration of the project, we got to share our work with the public and experience being part of a wonderful community of artists that TOAF has forged over the years.”
Sofia Escobar is a Toronto based artist born and raised in Peru and Ecuador. She completed her studies at OCAD University in Toronto in 2014, majoring in Material Art & Design, and specializing in Fibre. Driven by an ongoing interest in material and space, Sofia uses textile construction techniques and processes, to build intricate interwoven thread sculptures that explore themes of architecture and optical illusion. Her recent work explores new ways in which textiles could behave with their surroundings through material language, technology and participatory exchanges with the viewer. By using non-traditional materials and technologies such as acrylic and laser cutting, Sofia harnesses the broad versatility of textiles, and takes the medium beyond the utilitarian perception that is commonly tied to it. By adding projected light to her objects, Sofia further expands these intricate sculptures beyond their physical forms into the non-physical realm of light and shadow. Signaling an extension into the realm of abstraction, these sculptures become dynamic entities, opening a liminal space for the viewer to explore the works, but also themselves.
Left to right: Intervals of thread and the optics of space, Sofia Escobar, 2022, Paracord rope and steel; Macro Weave, Sofia Escobar, 2020, Thread and acrylic.
Admiral Ackbar, 2022, Mixed media sculpture
Land Escapes, 2022, Acrylic and resin on panel
“It was productive to be part of a curated exhibition of outdoor artworks. Art Nest pushed my boundaries as an artist, as I had to create robust large-scale outdoor public artwork.”
Kal Mansur is best known for his luminous wall works that combine painting and sculpture. Materials such as acrylic, cast acrylic, and epoxy resin are combined to create cohesive, elemental pieces of art. He uses transparency like a brushstroke, varying its application to refract available light. Mansur completed his BFA from the University of Texas at Austin in 1990. His work has been commissioned by Tiffany & Co., Bonjour Capital, George Brown College, Related Companies, among others. His work is in the permanent collection of Global Affairs Canada and was part of the Canada Pavilion at Expo 2020. He lives and works in Toronto.
Dig, 2022, Aluminium and ash wood
“It was interesting to take part in the artist talk on the final day. I enjoyed hearing about the process and the project development from the other artists.”
Constructed of wood and metal, Mireau’s sculptures form a balance between the organic and the geometric while playing with gravity and scale. Mireau was born in Saskatchewan and is currently based in Peterborough, Ontario. His work is held in collections across Canada and the USA, Germany, and United Arab Emirates. He also creates commissioned work for public and commercial spaces.
Plan View: a look into the eye of a building, 2022, Wood and concrete
“Art Nest at TOAF61 gave me the opportunity to expand my creative practice and merge many fields of interest into one work. The sculpture created for the show is in direct dialogue with architecture, urban infrastructure and everyday objects.
Following Art Nest, I was invited to exhibit the work at other events, such as the Geary Art Crawl, where I was able to experiment with different configurations of the original sculpture to allow for public interaction. It has been a great experience to test the possibilities of this project.”
Aline Setton is a Brazilian artist who lives in Toronto. Her studies in architecture appear as a base that ends up unfolding in her works. In her paintings, collages and sculptures, she deconstructs and rearranges elements of the landscape with an emphasis on the connections established between overlapping layers. Most recent works explore dialogues between the body, architecture and objects, investigating how spaces inform body movements and vice versa. Her work has been exhibited in Brazil, Canada, Portugal, USA, and she has received the “Best of Painting Award” at the 58th Toronto Outdoor Art Fair.
Plan View: a look into the eye of a building, Aline Setton, 2022, Wood and concrete.
BRISTlL FORM no.1, 2022, Natural fibre, dye, foam, acrylic on board
Protect The Strong: 2, 2022, Bronze, fibreglass, acrylic, faux rocks
Rubber Form, 2022, Recycled rubber
“Participating in the Art Nest was a fantastic experience and opportunity. I had been wanting to shift my practice by incorporating more public art projects and this was the perfect platform. By bringing art to the public in a non-traditional setting it allowed me to witness a more diverse audience interacting with my piece.”
Erin Vincent (b. 1977, Canada) is a Toronto-based artist whose work draws on a variety of repetitive and labour intensive processes and materials. Things have always fascinated Vincent; attracted to the abject and discarded she de-categorizes them and removes established hierarchies. The sculptures she makes possess their own liveliness through heightened tactile qualities. Erin completed her MFA at York University, focusing on sculpture and installation. Vincent has exhibited her work in Canada, the United States and England, with representation by Christie Contemporary (Toronto ON), Muriel Gupien Gallery (NYC) and Karen Imperial Gallery (San Fransisco). Her work is held in Canadian and International collections and she is the recipient of the following grants – 2021 Canadian Council – Research and Creation, 2019 Visual Arts Mid Career – Toronto Arts Council, 2019 Visual Arts – Ontario Arts Council and a 2016 SSHRC.