Here are eight of Toronto’s most intriguing gallerists: intrepid independent tastemakers who opened their own galleries to exhibit and champion the work of their favourite artists.

By Chris Metler

Nadia Belerique, The Lake Room (detail), 2018
Daniel Faria Gallery

Daniel Faria has helped the art scene in Toronto expand and cross over into other countries. His Daniel Faria Gallery, a bright intersection of paintings, sculptures, photographs and film installations, grounds that global ambition in the city’s west end. From September 19 to November 2, a solo show by Nadia Belerique takes centre stage. Belerique combines photography and sculptural installation to track the shifting relationship between the perceptual, the psychological and the representational.

Fabian Jean’s Wave (Mountain)

Mira Godard departed us nearly a decade ago, but the legacy of the Bucharest-born art dealer, who represented an outstanding roster of Canadian visual artists, lives on. One of Canada’s largest commercial art spaces, her Mira Godard Gallery has worked with corporate and private types in building collections, providing appraisals and buying and consigning works for resale. From September 14 to October 12, Fabian Jean’s Land and Sea is featured. With his pieces found in numerous collections, the Quebec artist’s current body of work is about place: places travelled, places of origin and perhaps emotional places within the viewer.

Sylvain Lessard, Monument 1, 2018, Acrylic on wood panel, 48 x 60 inches
Laura Dawe, Smelling Water, 2019

Jamie Angell’s mission to display artists who take risks in their work has never wavered. Owing to the decision he made to transform his Angell Gallery into a space that shows alternative and non-commercial art and intelligent, visually stimulating exhibitions, it has become one of Toronto’s most enduring contemporary art venues. From September 7 to October 5, buzzed-about painter Laura Dawe showcases her self-taught portraiture style in All of My Fear in a Single Flower, alongside Sylvain Lessard’s architecture-forward Monuments and David Trautrimas’ structure-centric A Place Between the Water in the Water.

Jay Isaac, Studies 1-18, 2019, acrylic on canvas, 20 x 16 inches each

Paul Petro Contemporary Art is a downtown gallery brokering ideas that are mindful of the margins. Sometimes that necessitates stepping in or recognizing institutional deficiencies, and putting work on public record that might otherwise slip through the cracks. From September 6 to October 5, Midnight Repairs will bring together a broad, incisive range of New Brunswick-born maverick Jay Isaac’s formal and conceptual concerns. Ron Gii’s Geometry Street is the captivating co-feature.

Kate Newby, 2018 Install Shot, Kunsthalle Wien

Simon Cole’s Cooper Cole gallery has evolved from the street-art focus of its previous iteration to an independent space that hosts fairs and contemporary exhibitions by North American and other artists. From September 13 to October19, New Zealand-born visual artist Kate Newby shares top billing with Toronto’s Kara Hamilton. Stained cotton sheets, pebbles made of clay, a lump of concrete — the former has mastered the art of tiny revelations. The latter? Few balance the art and design fields in finer fashion.

Joseph Hartman, Red Rock #4

Stephen Bulger could be Toronto’s most prolific purveyor of photography. Accordingly, his Stephen Bulger Gallery connects people with photographs that inspire them. In addition to an active exhibition schedule, it helps collectors of all levels acquire the snapshots they desire. From September 14 to October 26, the spotlight is on Joseph Hartman’s curiosity about the interaction between humans and landscape, particularly how each influences the other. The international portfolio of Larry Towell, known for his far-flung stills at sites of political conflict and social unrest, follows from November 9 to December 21.

A shot from Lindsay Anne Delaney’s shoot with Kim Cloutier

Emily Harding doesn’t just own an art gallery. After spending nearly 12 years in the art industry in New York, London and Berlin, she now lives in one. Representing contemporary Canadian, American and European artists, her Emily Harding Gallery is based out of the light-filled Leslieville loft she calls home. Harding’s exhibitions can include paintings, photography, sculpture, works on paper and video installation. This fall, the gallery features work by Lindsay Anne Delaney, the fashion and celebrity photographer whose portfolio counts red carpet photo profiles of subjects like Coco Rocha among its highlights. As well, to complement each show, Harding’s business partner Jeffrey Dinan selects a notable chef to create a tasting menu for guests in the gallery’s loft. The next “curated dining” series features chef Marc Thuet’s Centro classics and new gastro concoctions.

Ric Evans, Cardinal Elements (Yellow), 2019, acrylic on board, 47 x 47 in.

Nicholas Metivier gained 22 years of experience in the art world prior
to founding his Nicholas Metivier Gallery. It shows. It’s one of the largest contemporary galleries in Canada, exhibiting, representing and promoting Canadian and international artists from different generations. Each of them demonstrates exceptional originality working in a variety of mediums. From September 12 to October 5, Cardinal Elements challenges viewers with abstract painter Ric Evans’ colourful, optical illusion-like shaped canvases, while Mara Korkola’s In a Silent Way calls attention to the OCADU graduate’s penchant for concentric, impasto brushstrokes in electric colours.