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One of the first things I saved up for when I moved into my own place was a piece of Canadian art. I had admired Cybèle Young's framed miniature sculptures at a gallery in Calgary, but they were well beyond my budget, so I was delighted when I found an affordable print by her at Toronto's Open Studio.

Runaway, by Cybèle Young.

All these years later, I still love everything about it, from the cheeky name — it's called "Runaway" — to the mysterious backstory it implies and its soft palette. I remember painting a blue square on my wall just to showcase it. (You can follow Young on Tumblr and Twitter.)

I'm still on the lookout for great art, so a couple of weekends ago, when The Artist Project was held in Toronto, I set aside a Sunday afternoon to stroll the aisles with Sarah Keenlyside, my good friend and unofficial art consultant. Over the years, Sarah has introduced me to artists like Jose Parla and United Visual Artists, and she helped produce Douglas Coupland's installation The Museum of the Rapture for Nuit Blanche in 2012. (Check out the installation here.)

The Artist Project is a juried contemporary art fair and there was lots of eye candy to be found. Here are three of my favourites from the show:

Janet Kimber, photography

This diptych from Janet's Neo-Petroglyphs series was a highlight. Janet is also an H&H photographer (she shot Storewatch with me for the current April 2013 issue), so it was fun to see another side of her work. These images capture hundreds of years of graffiti found on the walls of Kumbhalgarh Fort in India. Verdict: Graphic and gritty in the best way, they'll fascinate forever.

Ian Mackay, still life paintings

Sarah and I almost whipped out our credit cards for one of Ian's quiet still life paintings. We were both drawn to his more architectural arrangements, like the ones above, but there were also eye-catching pieces that included a single flower, pine cone or clove of garlic in the mix. Verdict: Simple arrangements and beautiful colours give these traditional still lifes a cool modern feel.

Lulu Ladrón de Guevara, mylar and acrylic on wood

It's almost unfair to show Lulu's In a Quiet Light series in a blog, because many of them are not flat — they extend outwards, as if the light they depict is three-dimensional. I was drawn to the second one, above, because it reminded me of a beam of early morning light falling across the wall just so. Verdict: Ethereal, pretty and minimalist. These would be a clever addition anywhere you want the feeling of natural light.

For more, check out Wendy Jacob's blog post on Betty Ann Jordan's roundup of standout artists.

Photo credits:
1. Cybèle Young
2. Janet Kimber
3-4. Ian Mackay
5-6. Lulu Ladrón de Guevara


Kimberley Brown

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