Skip navigation

Monthly Archives: December 2009

Click on image to view larger image in new window

Image courtesy of Odon Wagner Gallery

The tables are turned in the art world in Toronto, if just for a short period. The artist Viktor Mitic has produced thirty-six individual portraits of gallery owners and dealers that figure prominently within the city. The exhibition is entitled Dealers, which was showcased at the Odon Wagner Gallery. 

These insightful and personable pieces are rendered in acrylic, oil, and Japanese pigment set against a gold foil background on board giving them each a stately presence. Mitic has drawn out the character of each entity and exalted them to new heights in a casual yet dramatic fashion. The blurred and sometimes hairy edges of the ink outlines around each figure add a sense of playfulness while the gold backdrop harkens back to a time rife with religious connotations. 

The artist manages to subvert the norm as now the dealer is on display rather than the art and artist. The focus is now on the purveyors of art rather than the producers of art. If there is even a slight hint of un-easiness in the aura of the subjects it may lay in the fact that even artists identities for the most part are not laid bare as are in these portraits. The sitter confronts the viewer as if caught in the act, which imparts a sense of approachability and endearment. Mitic confesses he took several pictures of each subject with only a cell phone camera and that each session lasted mere moments. I believe that this mode of research and spontaneity in the poses only increases the directness of the work and reveals the inner nature of all involved. Take for example the depiction of Olga Korper. Here the doyenne of the art world in Toronto is represented in all her striking singularity. This work embodies a departure for Mitic from his usual and sometimes divisive style of portraiture that involves political representation, screw art and bullet hole paintings. 

Also included as part of the exhibition is an excellent virtual catalogue highlighting all thirty-six portraits and a hardcover book to accompany the show which designates a separate cover for each sitter. 

Mitic has succeeded in identifying and personalizing gallery owners and dealers while at the same time making the Toronto art scene just a little more approachable and accessible.