Toronto painter’s exhibition documents city’s distinct neighbourhoods and areas

The Bloor Food Market is a 2017 painting in Brian Harvey's collection. The market is located in Toronto's west end. Photo is courtesy of Brian Harvey's website.
The Bloor Food Market is a 2017 painting in Brian Harvey's collection. The market is located in Toronto's west end. Photo is courtesy of Brian Harvey's website.
Daniel Centeno - CJRU - TorontoON | 20-10-2021

Toronto artist Brian Harvey launches a new solo exhibition highlighting the city's distinct neighbourhoods and areas as infrastructures continue to change.

"A lot of my work comes from my own wandering and explorations of the city, [and] walking up the same alleyway everyday to get a cup of coffee, and try to look at that again, as the light changes, seasons change," said Harvey. "My work these days has also become increasingly about documentation as well as the old city is lost."

The works captures what he calls "the beauty in the ordinary, everyday objects and places" of these neighbourhoods.

"It's upsetting to see the historic parts of the city lost to development, and these little bits and pieces disappear are things that are sometimes overlooked, and you don't notice them there until they're gone," he said.

Various shades of yellows and oranges in a painting showing an alleyway passing.

Cutting Through, one of Brian Harvey's 2019 paintings documenting a city alleyway. Photo courtesy of Brian Harvey's website.

His paintings will be on display for the DRIFT exhibit in Toronto's historic 401 Richmond St. building. The name DRIFT refers to Harvey's own journey and exploration throughout the city streets.

With COVID-19 restrictions loosened for in-person gathering, Harvey believes taking the time to notice closer surroundings has become more relevant, especially as the pandemic limited daily excurisions and travel.

"I think the idea of being close to home, of exploring the city, everybody's world got kind of a lot smaller during COVID," he said. "The notion of exploring close to home became more relevant to people after the last two years."

He hopes his works will "reignite" the sense of exploration around the areas, and see a sense of beauty in mundane structures like dilapadated buildings.

The DRIFT Exhibit runs this month until Oct. 30 at Abbozzo Gallery at 401 Richmond St.

Listen to Brian Harvey's full interview here: