Page 24 - Studio International - January 1965
P. 24

scarcely have dreamed of the gusher he was about to
                                                                                 hit.  Since  then  his artists have  represented  Canada  in
                                                                                 all  the  big  international  exhibitions.  and  can  be  seen
                                                                                 at  the  Museum  of  Modern  Art.  the  Guggenheim.  the
                                                                                 Walker. the Albright  Knox and the Carnegie. as well as
                                                                                 in many of the important private collections.
                                                                                   Most  other  dealers  are  quick  to  pay  tribute  to  the
                                                                                 pioneering that the Isaacs Gallery did in the mid 'fifties.
                                                                                 'Av'  Isaacs.  indeed.  has  become  a  one  man institute.
                                                                                 His gallery has been redesigned. and he has packed it
                                                                                 to capacity with readings by the best poets from across
                                                                                 the  continent.  or  with  evenings  of  experimental  films.
                                                                                 He  has  also  entered  publishing.  to  provide  a  further
                                                                                 vehicle for poets and graphic artists. and he is currently
                                                                                 planning to bring to Toronto the Ann Arbor Manifesta­
                                                                                 tions  in  Sound  and  Vision.  He  stresses  the  trans­
                                                                                 formation  of  the  city  in  the  last  decade.  On  any
                                                                                 Saturday,  now.  he will count  between  two  and three
                                                                                 hundred visitors. 'Once,' he explains. ·everyone went to
                                                                                 Buffalo for the weekend-now they come to Toronto.'
                                                                                 And indeed it is true that even the Albright Knox cannot
                                                                                 rival  the  tempo  of  twice-monthly  change  set  up  by
                                                                                 Toronto's top ten dealers.
                                                                                  What the  British visitor finds exciting. however. is the
                                                                                 sort  of  work  that  Toronto  artists  are  producing.  The
                                                                                 impression that Canada has not yet entered the 'sixties.
                                                                                 gained  from  the  Fifth  Biennial  of  Canadian  Painting
                                                                                 which  came  to  the  Commonwealth  Institute  in  1963
                                                                                 and the  Eleven  Painters who were shown at the Tate
                                                                                 last year.  is seen to be groundless.  Michael  Snow.  for
                                                                                 instance.  whose  Walking  Woman  caused  a  sensation
                                                                                 in New York. and who is represented in the Museum of
                                                                                  Modern  Art.  obtained  no  place  in  the  English  tours.
                                                                                 neither  did  such  painters  as  Joyce  Wieland.  Richard
                                                                                 Gorman.  Greg  Curnoe or  Les  Levine.  some of  whose
                                                                                 works  are  represented  on  these  pages.  No  doubt  the
                                                                                 task of committees like the  one at Ottawa  is difficult,
                                                                                 but  in  front  of  Toronto's  present  feast  the  suspicion
                                                                                 grows  that  this  one  has  been.  rather  like  the  British
                                                                                 Council. overly cautious.
                                                                                  The  Biennial.  of  course.  is  exclusive  to  painters.
                                                                                 perhaps  because  of  the  difficulty  Canadian  sculpture
                                                                                 has had in getting off the ground.  For example. there is
                                                                                 still  no  curator of sculpture at  the  National Gallery of
                                                                                  Canada.  and  until  last  year.  when  Canada's  first  fine
                                                                                 art foundry  was  set up in  Toronto.  Canadians  had no
                                                                                 means  of  working  in  cast  metal-Gerald  Gladstone.
                                                                                 Canada's most successful sculptor is a welder.
                                                                                  Toronto's champion of Canadian sculpture is Dorothy
                                                                                  Cameron.  whose equally elegant gallery is three doors
                                                                                 from the  Isaacs.  Effervescent  Miss  Cameron.  who was
                                                                                 prime mover in the establishing of the foundry. tells the
                                                                                 story of  how her campaign to obtain tax concessions
                                                                                 for its sponsors gained such publicity that the foundry
                               tub.  but today its  role has been largely taken over by  became self supporting overnight-although the cam­
                               the  smart  new  galleries  that  it  has  itself  helped  to  paign failed.
                               1nsp1re.                                            It was the  Dorothy Cameron Gallery that last year ran
                                Most people date Toronto's fine art boom from 1955:   the  most  comprehensive  exhibitions  of  Canadian
                               not only the first year of the Art Gallery's new founda­  sculpture  yet  seen.  and  recently  nominated  itself
                               tion.  but  the  year  of  the  first  Biennial  of  Canadian   Canada's first and only sculpture gallery on the strength
                               Painting  and  the  year  when  a  young  economics  of their success. It is early days to know whether such a
                               graduate.  Avrom  Isaacs.  opened the city's first strictly  daring  move  is  premature;  Miss  Cameron's  prestige
                               avant  garde  gallery  on  the  edge  of  the  fashionable  last year drew entries away from the  National Gallery's
                               Bloor-Yonge shopping district.                    second  Canadian  Sculpture  Exhibition and the  Sculp­
                                Mr.  Isaacs  had  decided  to  convert  his  framemakers·   ture Society of Canada to such an extent that the latter
       Robert  Hedrick         business  into  a  gallery  that  would  do  justice  to  cancelled its plans; but then she had the co-operation
       Seraglio,  1963/4
       Cast bronze  28½  in. high   neglected friends.  His plan was to finance things from  of three other top Toronto galleries; now she must go
       Dorothy Cameron  Gallery   the workshop  which he moved  to  the  back.  He could  it  alone.  With  names  like Gladstone.  Turner.  Hedrick.
   19   20   21   22   23   24   25   26   27   28   29