Do You Think This is Art?

This past weekend I met up with a group of artist friends after going to Art Toronto at the Convention Centre. Going to Art Fairs is a frequent pilgrimage for me, as I like to see what the top galleries are showing. But seeing what is supposed to be amazing art gets to be more of an empty exercise with each passing year.
With five of my artist friends after Toronto Art Fair

With five of my artist friends after Art Toronto

We all wandered around the show on our own and compared notes after. It was great fun to share drinks and dinner with this group of dynamic contemporary painters and hear their thoughts. The conversation was quite lively. Most of us had never met in person before. We've all gotten to know each other over the internet and really admire each others' work. I had previously met two of them when I attended Kevin Ghiglione's   stunning solo exhibition at Muse Gallery last August. We all agreed that the art being shown at Art Toronto was underwhelming at best. In fact most of us felt, as working artists, there was almost nothing inspiring.
Art Toronto 2016 Jack Bush painting

Art Toronto 2016 Jack Bush painting

This is supposed to be the best of the best! Art Toronto features  mostly Canadian galleries with a generous mixture of American, South American and European galleries showing their top artists. But it all seemed really hum drum and derivative. I don't know if you've ever felt this when looking at contemporary art, but some of the art felt like a con job. I saw two large saggy canvases in the 5 figure price range that were badly stretched and warping. I saw another painting where the paint was literally flaking off onto the floor priced at $27,000!! Much of it was pretentious, silly and trying too hard. As a perfect example this painting by Kim Dorland was actually repellent. Yet it had a red dot, meaning sold. I can't imagine someone paying $10,500. for this! I'd be embarrassed to have painted it and even more so to have bought it. What do you think? I'd be interested in your comments.
Is this art to you?

Kim Dorland 30 x 24 Equinox Gallery $10,500. SOLD


11 comments to Do You Think This is Art?

  • Ron Dufault

    I am a huge Kim Dorland fan and love the texture and mood of all his work.

  • I agree that some of his work is wonderful. Do you like this particular piece? Only my opinion but I find this one foreboding, clumsy and overpriced – almost like Equinox is clearing out their stacks. Sorry 🙂

  • Galleries are like Corporations, if something looks like something that sold for big bucks
    they’ll flog it for a stupid price. They have absolutely no desire to promote anything original
    or authentic by a working artist. Its about the money not about the art.

  • R nolen

    Sorry your experience was less than good.
    I frequently find that to be the case with juried shows in the FL area.
    Shows are preferable to gallery presentations I think because of less emphasis on financial motivation.

  • Catherine

    Well. I certainly would not have bought it but…I think Canadian artiste have a hard time with “Canadianness”. Often there is that trap to harken back to G of 7. Looks like that around the perimeter and then the warmth of community breaking through the great quite north…Do you know the title?

  • Pete Simone

    I am not an artist but I love painting as a hobby. Some of these paintings make me feel like I could do as well if not better than what I see here.

    I really enjoyed your art class at the Art Gallery

  • Lyn Wolf Jackson

    Early this month I went to the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston to view the Degas collection. My disappointed take on this very famous, very expensive artist was his work would not be juried into any current gallery if his name was not connected. Canvas pieces were spliced and glued together in odd places, his perspective was odd, realistic painting had no shadows, relationships of size were skewed. I was unimpressed totally. Is there an answer as to why high prices are paid for mediocre work? I have no answer. It must connect with someone for some reason. Degas did not connect with me and all I can explain it with is, it seemed shoddy work. But, obviouly, what do I know? Art seems to never have anwers, only connections—–or not.

    • Thanks for your comment Lyn. I agree that sometimes when we see famous paintings in real life, they leave us disappointed. Impressionist artists such as Degas were truly hated in their day. Some people still don’t care for them. It’s only now that their work is so highly valued because they changed the course of art history and influenced every artist that came after. There’s also the matter of art investment which naturally drives up the price.

      It does seem a bit skewed though. It’s almost impossible to understand how value and prestige are placed on expensive contemporary art.

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