VP of Art, Bronwyn Hunter-Shortly, visits Montreal for Plural
Bronwyn Hunter-Shortly on April 24, 2023
Created in 2007, Plural Art Fair (previously Papier) is run by AGAC—Contemporary Art Galleries Association, an association similar to NADA that consists of the top Canadian galleries. “Created by and for the galleries, the fair presents and brings together the plurality of voices and works in contemporary art from across the country,” states Plural. The energy of having so many Canadian galleries in Montreal for a weekend is palpable—the city's experimental energy and art culture creates a natural extension of the art fair.
This was felt acutely at the opening night, where art sightseeing led to grabbing a nightcap nearby at Caffee Un Po’ Di Pui to discuss new finds and old friends. VIPs at the fair gathered with the overall sentiment of being “thrilled that in-person fairs were back in full force.” The new layout and second-floor entry point created a great flow for the crowd; VIPs were able to take a moment for a glass of bubbly or charcuterie and engage in deeper conversations between viewers and gallerists. The meandering layout of Plural felt like an organic way to discover new artists and galleries. Here are a few of our faves:
A particularly special dialogue between painters and friends – Shahin Sharafaldin and Nadya Isabella’s pieces were stand-alone yet intimately related, as a portrait of Sharafaldin by Isabella was central to the presentation.
The connective thread of family history through art-making was evident in United Contemporary’s presentation. Linda Sormin’s ceramics and Emma Nishimura’s detail-forward prints, while seemingly disparate in aesthetic and execution, flourished with additional context about the artists’ exploration of cultural histories.
Galerie Robertson Arès
Galerie Robertson Arès presented a booth bursting with colour and nostalgia in all shapes and forms. Visitors who took a peek into the hidden corner of the booth were rewarded with some intimate pieces by the gallery’s newest artist – Yasuaki Kuroda.
Mark-making was at the forefront of McBride’s presentation as the group of presented artists pushed the boundaries of materials; while Rebecca Munce carefully built up and scraped away oil stick, Nadine Faraj embraced the spontaneity and fluidity of watercolor.
The week was overall filled with art viewing – from running around town to visit local brick-and-mortar spaces of exhibiting galleries, to an incredible visit to the residencies and artist studios within Fonderine Darling.
I was reminded of why art fairs are so important: they bring a spectrum of art and galleries all to one place. It’s like the most eclectic museum in the world and an excellent place to discover (and buy!) new art. The Canadian focus of Plural especially hits close to home – although Peggy is international, we proudly have roots in Canada.