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You Are Here: West Queen West

Balancing a rough-around-the-edges authenticity with a bit of high-end hipsterism, the section of Queen Street west of downtown’s core has long been a hotbed for creative citizens of all stripes. No surprise, then, that it’s also home to many of the city’s top contemporary art galleries.

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David Kaye Gallery

ALTERNATIVE MEDIA Three display areas ensure visual diversity at David Kaye Gallery, as does its stable of more than 40 artists who produce not only paintings and drawings, but also jewellery, ceramics and sculptural objects. A perfect example: Susan Warner Keene, whose recent efforts in papermaking are shown from February 4 to 28.

LOCAL NOTABLE Since opening her first gallery in 1998, Katharine Mulherin’s reputation as both an art dealer and curator have steadily grown. Her eponymous Katharine Mulherin Contemporary Art Projects now fills neighbouring spaces with the creations of emerging and mid-career artists, including widely collected photographer, sculptor and mixed-media painter Balint Zsako, and four-time Sobey Art Award semifinalist Alexandra Flood.

SNAP TO IT With a roster that reads like a who’s who of professional shutterbugs, Stephen Bulger Gallery is arguably the city’s best space for fine-art photography. At any given time its walls could be adorned with images by the likes of Robert Burley, Sarah Anne Johnson, Jeff Thomas and other Canadian and international practitioners of social-documentary shooting. In total, it boasts a collection of more than 15,000 contemporary and vintage prints, as well as 3,000-plus books on photography.

Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (photo by Fayiaz Chunara)

BIGGER, BETTER The paint has barely dried at the new location of Angell Gallery, consistently cited as one of Toronto’s most forward-thinking dealers of contemporary art. After nearly 15 years in an 800-square-foot shoebox just off of Trinity Bellwoods Park, it ventured west to Ossington Avenue and, as of its February 3 re-opening, offers quadruple the space for the latest pieces by such innovative artists as Luke Painter, Geoffrey Pugen and Bradley Harms.

NEIGHBOURHOOD NUCLEUS If West Queen West is the Toronto visual art scene’s Mecca, then the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art is its Kaaba. A pilgrimage to this not-for-profit gallery means the opportunity to view works by Canadian and global artists who bring novel perspective to our modern age. Starting February 4, a survey of paintings by Will Gorlitz examines issues of representation and interpretation in an image-dominated society.

Edward Day Gallery (photo by Claudia Hung)

ARTISTIC MÉLANGE A mix of media—photography, sculpture, drawing, painting, printmaking and installation—comprises the artistic abundance of Edward Day Gallery. Established in Kingston, Ontario in 1992, it then came to Toronto’s Yorkville area and finally settled on Queen West. The venue shares an address with MOCCA, making it a natural stop on a local gallery hop.

EURO CHIC The minimalist aesthetic of Lausberg Contemporary makes certain that nothing distracts from the progressive art gracing its walls. Acclaimed German artists such as Harald Schmitz-Schmelzer and Hans Kotter are prominent on a roster that speaks to gallery owner Bernd Lausberg’s roots in Düsseldorf, but the Toronto outpost also represents boundary-pushing North Americans like David Burdeny, Jae Ko and James Robert Durant.

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