From established institutions to new ventures, these ten Toronto galleries push the boundaries of contemporary art and spark critical dialogue through the diverse range of artworks on show. Toronto’s galleries represent the best of contemporary art from local and international artists, exhibiting a range of art media and styles. Their dedication to inventive curation and support of Canadian artists are just part of the reason each of the following galleries stand out as the top arts destinations in Toronto.
Cooper Cole Gallery was opened in 2009 by Simon Cole, in place of his previous gallery space,Show & Tell, a successful gallery with a reputation for street art. Cole opened Cooper Cole in order to distance himself and his developing roster of artists from this movement. The rebranded gallery space now showcases diverse works, from abstract and conceptual paintings to sculptural installations. Cole insists that the gallery has no set style and he refuses to be pigeonholed into one artistic category. His mission is to bring a younger voice to the Toronto Art Scene by representing a number of local and American artists in their mid- to late twenties. Artists represented by Cooper Cole include Todd James, Jeremy Jansen, Jen Stark and Tessar Lo, among many others.
Clint Roenisch gallery opened its doors in 2003 adjacent to the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA) in downtown Toronto. The gallery represents a diverse selection of cross-generational artists working across photography, sculpture, painting, film and installation and over the years has built up an impressive roster of international artists. Clint Roenisch has been the location of premier solo exhibitions in Canada by several international artists, including Roger Ballen (Johannesburgh) Heather and Ivan Morrison (Wales) and Marcel van Eden (Zurich). The gallery has also exhibited works by renowned artists such as Richard Serra, Louise Bourgeois and Nan Goldin. Many of the artists hosted at Clint Roenisch Gallery have exhibited at or been collected by prestigious institutions such as MoMA, the Centre Georges Pompidou, and the National Gallery of Canada.
Since its opening in 1996, the mission of Angell Gallery has been to support both emerging and mid-career artists. The gallery specialises in representing artists who are known for taking risks in their work. The works shown at Angell Gallery often challenge contemporary culture and the critical norms of art-making. The gallery has therefore become known for pushing the boundaries of contemporary art through the presentation of high-quality works that challenge both the artists and their patrons. The artworks found at Angell Gallery come in a variety of mediums including sculpture and painting, looking more recently at digital and video art with their two-part exhibition Simulators. The gallery represents multiple celebrated local and international artists such as Geoffrey Pugen and Alex McLeod and exhibits regularly on the contemporary art fair circuit.
Stephen Bulger founded his gallery in 1994 whilst working as a Technician at the Ontario College of Art and Design. Since then the gallery has held over 150 exhibitions focusing on international, contemporary and historical photographs. Stephen Bulger Gallery represents numerous Canadian and international photographers including Pete Doherty, Sunil Gupta and Jeff Thomas, and has a collection of over 15,000 photographs, with a particular interest in documentary and historical photographs from Canada. Although the gallery works with collectors of all levels, it specialises in working with and offering advice to first-time buyers. CAMERA, Toronto’s premier lounge, screening room and gallery venue is housed here alongside the gallery bookshop, which contains over 3,000 titles on photography. Stephen Bulger is also the co-founder of CONTACT, Toronto’s annual photography festival.
Kertész, Toronto, 2015 installation | Courtesy of Corkin Gallery
Corkin Gallery, originally founded under the name Jane Corkin Gallery in 1978, is one of Canada’s pre-eminent visual art spaces. The gallery, owned by Jane Corkin, has gained worldwide recognition for its contribution to contemporary art discourse and its dedication to curatorial projects and exhibitions that facilitate discussion amongst artists, curators, museums and private collections. The gallery also contextualises the work of the numerous Canadian and international artists on their roster through exhibitions that provide a historical trajectory. The main topics explored by artists represented by Corkin Gallery are the environment, identity, consumerism and narrative. These themes are conveyed through a variety of mediums, including photography, abstract painting, digital media and sculpture. Corkin Gallery is now based in a converted tank house in the Distillery District, and regularly attends art fairs at The Armory in New York, Art Basel, Art Hong Kong, and Art Toronto.
Daniel Faria Gallery is a contemporary art space housed in a converted warehouse in Bloordale Village. Founder, Daniel Faria, has worked in the gallery scene for over a decade, accumulating the right relationships, reputation and savvy necessary to open his own gallery in 2011. The relatively new space was well received in the Toronto art scene and has gone on to exhibit some of the biggest names in Canadian art. At present, the gallery has a selective roster of 10, mainly Canadian artists including Shannon Bool, Chris Curreri and Kristine Moran. International artists represented by the gallery include German-born Iris Häussler, whose multimedia works have featured in several shows, among others a solo show Iris Häussler As The Frog in 2015.
Working exclusively with art produced by high-calibre artists from Canada, the United States, Britain, Germany, the Czech Republic and Denmark, the Christopher Cutts Gallery is one of the leading commercial fine art galleries in Toronto. The gallery has been operational since 1986 and deals solely in critically acclaimed, new and historical works of modern and contemporary art. Their extensive programme includes Estates of historically significant Canadian artists, established senior artists, recognised mid-career artists and important emerging artists from around the works. In particular, Christopher Cutts is interested in emerging artists who are exploring the boundaries of media, representation and interpretation in contemporary art-making. They currently represent 45 creative minds, such as Ron Martin, Christy Langer, Andrew Rucklidge and Sherri Hay, and exhibit regularly at contemporary art fairs – Art Toronto and Art Miami, among others.