Bringing art of all sizes to midtown
Forest Hill gallery celebrates 20 years in its space that gives you the distance to view large art comfortably
It’s the first week of April, and as usual Chad Wolfond has been busy.
The owner of the Lonsdale Gallery, at 410 Spadina Rd. has little more than a week to prepare for his next opening reception, the first Toronto exhibition for Quebec artist Patrice Charbonneau.
“We’re excited,” Wolfond says, while showing off some of Charbonneau’s colourful acrylic paintings of abstract shapes arranged to resemble living spaces. “Our openings draw people from downtown and across the periphery of metro Toronto.”
Celebrating its 20th year, the Lonsdale Gallery stands out among the city’s private art galleries, many of which are downtown. It boasts a wide, two-floor, museum-quality space that can comfortably display clusters of smaller paintings or photographs that are 14 feet long.
“Downtown, I’d have a 15- or 20-foot-wide storefront with one large wall at the back, likely cut up by a doorway,” Wolfond explains when asked why he chose to establish his gallery in Forest Hill Village. “I exhibit very large work; to exhibit very large work you need distance to view it.”
Wolfond was inspired to start his gallery after volunteering with multiple arts organizations, including a stint on the Toronto School of Art’s board of directors. His admiration for art in all forms is illustrated by the work he displays. It includes paintings, sculptures, photographs and installations that he hopes remains in the viewer’s mind.
“To me, the work has to be impactful,” he says. “I’m hoping that a lot of the work I show causes people to slow down and … perhaps change the way they see something.”
As an example, he shows off a series of tiny “Arctic surreal” oil paintings by American artist Nora Sturges that depict abandoned industrial buildings surrounded by barren tundra.
“You’re drawn in and almost lost in the imagery,” Wolfond enthuses. “And with the right light, the subtle colours really glow.”
The featured work by Charbonneau, who’s earned three degrees in architecture, examines how humans modify and inhabit space. Like everything on display at the gallery, it’s on sale — for between $4,800 and $7,200, depending on size.
“The important thing in looking for an artist is that I believe they have to have staying power,” says Wolfond, who travels as far as Germany and China in his search for new work. “That they’re creating something because they want to create it, not because they feel it’s saleable.”
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