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Inaugural Visual Fringe debuts at this year’s festival

July 5th, 2011 · No Comments

Artist Aynsley Moorhouse's installation will explore sound and memory. Photo courtesy Mykola Velychko

By Julia Hennessey

For the first time ever, the Toronto Fringe Festival has officially opened its programming to include visual artists, and according to Gideon Arthurs, barring hate crimes, anything goes.

“People don’t feel like [art is] accessible so they don’t understand it and they don’t interact with the visual arts,” said Arthurs, the festival’s executive director. “We wanted to give the public a chance to interact with it directly at street level.”

Visual Fringe will take place in the heart of Toronto’s largest theatre festival as part of the Fringe Club, located in the Honest Ed’s alleyway at Bathurst and Bloor. Eight of the galleries will be located in the alleyway with a ninth just down the street at A Different Booklist.

The works featured as part of Visual Fringe were “un-juried” at selection, and will be uncensored and un-curated.

Artists and collectives were selected from all over Toronto, including a few Annex residents. Works will be available for purchase at prices ranging from $1 to $3,500.

Arthurs describes one exhibition called the Fringe Tourist Trap, as including fake Fringe merchandise. “Things like an autographed book and posters for Fringe shows that don’t actually exist.”

Another display using alternative media includes work by Annex resident and artist bekky O’Neil. Her exhibition is a “cabinet of curiosity” and uses media referred to by the artist as “toy theatre collage.”

Outside the visual medium, there is a sound installation by Aynsley Moorhouse where audiences will be blindfolded for the duration of the 14 minute piece.

Artists were selected on a first-come, first-serve basis. “We put an application online and we took the first eight that came to us,” he says. The response was tremendous, as “it filled up in about four hours, and we probably doubled the list in that span.”

With such an enthusiastic response, Arthurs says the festival will definitely be interested in expanding the event next year. “Clearly there’s a desire in the visual arts community for something like this. Our next experiment is when we actually run the festival, how responsive the public is.”

Visual Fringe will take place in the Fringe Club located at 581 Bloor St. West, south of Bloor in the Honest Ed’s Alleyway from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. every night from July 6 to 17

Tags: Arts