3 Galleries from Montreal In The Top 11 Emerging Commercial Galleries in Canada || ARTINFO
3Galleries from Montreal In The Top 11 Emerging Commercial Galleries in Canada || ARTINFO
Much like the restaurant business, you won’t know a commercial gallery is going to hold until it surpasses the five-year mark — and even then it’s dicey. But the first 12-36 months are where all the magic happens: where the spark of audacity and the buffeting of ambition are most deeply felt, followed by an inspired process of innovation. As the economy slowly begins to regain its legs, and Canada’s art market awakens to its contemporary talent, BLOUIN ARTINFO Canada profiles eleven commercial galleries shaping the country’s contemporary artworld. These span three major art centers — Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal — as well as relative outposts like Edmonton and Halifax.
Nicolas Robert Gallery, Montreal
Housed in Montreal’s historic gallery enclave, the Belgo Building, Nicolas Robert’s eponymous gallery has managed to establish itself apart. Opening his doors in 2011, the gallerist (who began as a collector in 2000) places an emphasis on abstract geometric painting and contemporary photography. He describes his focus, saying “think shape, color, minimal, and formal art,” and represents a diminutive roster of seven artists, including emerging talents like Joe Lima and Christian Knudsen, fast-accelerating artists like Lorna Bauer, and projects involving banner names like Robert Houle. “I think a stronger relation between Montréal and other major Canadian cities would benefit each other,” he says. “The Canadian arts community tends to ‘work in silo.’ [But] Montreal is a living pool of talented artists. I didn’t have any doubt in opening the gallery in this city, in the heart of Montreal’s cultural scene.”
Galerie Hugues Charbonneau, Montreal
Another tenant of Montreal’s Belgo Building, Hugues Charbonneau opened his gallery in 2012. With a focus on abstract two-dimensional work, and including in his roster standouts like Jean-Benoît Pouliot and Séripop, the dealer helped open Montreal mega-gallery Arsenal, and previously worked at art publication, esse, before beginning his solo venture. “I had the chance to begin very early in life,” he explains, citing his nearly two decades as an art instructor, curator, and publisher. “I worked for the big machines of the art market in Canada and I collaborated with the big players in New York. By the time I opened the gallery, I had closed all the possible types of transactions you could imagine and I could analyze the art scene from multiple points of view.” Representing a manageable roster of ten artists, the gallerist explains that “the gallery is of an average size, small enough to remain a laboratory. I have observed the limitations and traps of fast growth; the idea is rather to take the time to present art in the right context and to commit to show it often enough to allow people to understand how an artist is evolving and what a given artistic production is really about.”
Galerie Antoine Ertaskiran, Montreal
Following in his father’s footsteps, Montreal-born, Paris-raised Antoine Ertaskiran opened a new space for contemporary art in 2012, complete with an enviable and eclectic roster of artists. He quickly positioned the Montreal gallery to become a major force in the city’s small but discerning market. Ertaskiran has already presented eleven exhibitions and shown at fairs including New York’s VOLTA. Along with neighbors Fonderie Darling and Arsenal, Galerie Antoine Ertaskiran joins a wave of cultural revitalization in Griffintown, a former industrial neighborhood now home to art spaces, residential lofts, and an emerging tech sector. In recent shows, Michael A. Robinson’s stunning assemblages of lights, lamps, and cameras glimmered in the gallery’s open spaces, while Sayeh Sarfaraz’s psychologically charged installations of children’s toys employed a cunning sense of scale. Keep an eye out for upcoming exhibitions such as the searing political commentary of Dominique Blain and Jacynthe Carrier’s lyrical film work.