Oh Canada! 30 Promising Young Art World Stars From the Great White North

Oh Canada! 30 Promising Young Art World Stars From the Great White North

In an effort to start the new year with a note of promise, ARTINFO Canada presents a roundup of those Canadians, 30 years or younger, who we consider to be showing great industry and promise in the art world. Far from definitive, and in no particular order, here are a few of the ingénue stars we’re tracking. Look for our forthcoming “top lists” in the categories of fashion, film, architecture, and design, in the months to come.

To see portraits and bios of the candidates for "BLOUIN ARTINFO Canada's Top 30 Under 30," click on the slideshow.


Gabrielle Moser, 29, is a Toronto-based writer and independent curator. She regularly contributes to Artforum.com and in the past year her writing has appeared in venues including Canadian Art, esse, The Journal of Curatorial Studies, and the catalogue for the CCA Wattis exhibition, “On Apology.” Last June, Moser curated the group exhibition, “Always Working,” for Vancouver’s Access Gallery, and is currently programming a series of events about exhibiting difficult photographs as curator-in-residence at Gallery TPW R&D. She is a Ph.D. candidate in the art history and visual culture program at York University, where she also teaches.

Ben-19076">Ben Schumacher, 27, lives in New York and has recently shown at the Sculpture Center (New York City), Tomorrow Gallery (Toronto), and Croy Nielsen (Berlin). He works in aluminum and glass, as informed by his previous work in commercial curtain-wall installation. Schumacher has been organizing a billiards tournament that occurs simultaneously in ten cities across Europe and North America. He is currently working with the architecture firm DS+R on the duplication of their archive of architectural models for a show at Bortolami Gallery (New York). He will soon be installing a three-dimensional scan of a commercial elevator shaft with the artist Carlos Reyes for Tomorrow in Toronto.  

Petra Collins, 20, is a Toronto-born photographer, artist, and curator. She is the founder and curator of The Ardorous, an online art collective showcasing works of emerging women artists. Collins has been practising photography since the age of 15 (exclusively shooting on film). Her photographs are provocative, raw portraits that deal with female sexuality. She is a staff photographer for Rookie Mag, a casting director for Richard Kern, and her work has been featured in publications like VICE, Oyster, Vogue Italia, GARAGE, Jacques, and others. She has a short film coming out later this month on Purple TV. Collins is in her second year at OCAD Universty studying criticism and curatorial practices. 

Jesse McKee, 28, is curator of the Walter Phillips Gallery at the Banff Centre. Since joining the gallery in late 2011, he has produced exhibitions with Mark Leckey, Brian Jungen and Duane Linklater, and performances and events with Karl Holmqvist and Mai Abu ElDahab, among others. Previously McKee was the exhibitions curator at Western Front, Vancouver. In 2011 he curated “Well Formed Data” at Gallery 101, Ottawa. He was a participant and presenter in the events program “Fiction, Rhetoric and Facts,” Tranzit.ro, in Romania, 2012. He is part of the curatorial team developing “The Floating Admiral” at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris, in 2013.

Nicolas Ceccaldi, 27, is a Montreal-born artist. After graduating from the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), in 2006, and from the Staedelschule in Frankfurt, in 2010, he went on to show his work in over 30 exhibitions worldwide. In his most recent solo show at Real Fine Arts, New York, he presented a series of costume-wings laid out on the gallery floor, under the collective title “Wearables.” This February his work will be included in “Version Control” at the Arnolfini in Bristol. Ceccaldi occasionally writes articles for the French periodical, MAY, as well as catalogue texts and reviews.

Walter Scott, 27, graduated with a BFA from Concordia University in 2009. Scott has exhibited across North America, including the Thunder Bay Art Gallery and the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Scott’s most recent project, the “Wendy” comic, has been garnering attention in contemporary art circles, “with its resounding reception being: ‘Oh my god, this is about my life’.” An ongoing self-published comic-book series, it chronicles the adventures of Wendy, a fashionable 20-something art girl whose dreams of contemporary art stardom are perpetually derailed by the temptations of punk music, drugs, alcohol, parties, and boys. “Wendy” has been featured on the back page of Modern Painters magazine.

Faye Mullen, 25, is an artist whose work is informed by a sculptural practice and often combined with performance, video, and installation. Mullen studied at l’École National Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, in Paris; at the Ontario College of Art & Design, and the University of Toronto, where she received her masters. Mullen has exhibited internationally in solo and curated group exhibitions in Australia, Canada, France, South Korea, and the US, and has participated in international artist residencies in Alma, Berlin, Buffalo, Marnay-sur-Seine, Saint-Jean-Port-Joli, Wongil, and on the Toronto islands.   

Evan Tyler is a visual artist, writer, curator, and gallery director. He works in video, drawing, text, performance, and photography and often employs monologues to tell stories of “the human condition in all of its mundane brilliance.” Tyler currently resides in Toronto, where he is the owner and the director of programming at Gallerywest, a contemporary art gallery located on Queen Street West. Since the fall of 2010, the gallery has exhibited 28 shows in multiple media by local, national, and international artists, with an emphasis on emerging prairie artists.

Tara Downs, 27, is the co-founder of Tomorrow Gallery, which showcases young international artists, and has been earning the gallerist and her co-founders, Aleksander Hardashnakov and Hugh Scott-Douglas, international attention. Downs recently became the associate director of the Berlin-based Tanya Leighton Gallery.

Simon Cooper Cole, 30, is a gallerist, curator, and collector. He founded his first gallery in 2008, and is now the director of the Toronto-based Cooper Cole Gallery. With a focus on exhibiting a roster of emerging and mid-career international and Canadian artists, as well as participating in numerous international art fairs, Cooper Cole is quickly gaining a broad reputation for being one of Canada’s top destinations for cutting-edge contemporary art. Additionally, Cole is co-director and curator of Spectrum Art Projects, a non-profit organization promotion public art through murals and art initiatives in an initiative to reshape the urban landscape; and co-founder of the Ministry of Artistic Affairs, a membership-based event series.

Hugh Scott-Douglas, 24, recently opened his first L.A. exhibition, at the Blum and Poe gallery. Scott-Douglas's newest work topped ARTINFO's "Must-See L.A. Exhibitions Opening in January," and has been touted in several publications. He has developed a largely abstract painting practice into media like cyanotypes (or blueprints), laser cuts, road cases, and slide projections, and is currently concerned with responding to architectural footprints. Now based in New York City, Scott-Douglas has been featured in solo shows in New York, San Francisco, London, Milan, and Berlin. He is a co-founder of Tomorrow Gallery, and can be seen in an upcoming group show at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum.

Megan Bradley, 29, is the director of exhibitions and artist liaison at Parisian Laundry in Montreal. At 25, Bradley founded Galerie PUSH, where she presented critical solo shows of such artists as Jessica Eaton, Wil Murray, and Patrick Lundeen; it quickly became regarded as one of Canada’s top emerging contemporary art galleries. Bradley in currently working on anticipated solo projects involving David Armstrong Six, Alexandre David, and Valerie Blass. Bradley’s master’s research at Concordia University is focused on contemporary Canadian artists negotiating the global terrain of the art world.

Rui Amaral, 24, is the art coordinator for Scrap Metal Gallery, a privately owned exhibition space in Toronto, and the gallery assistant at Daniel Faria Gallery. In 2011, Amaral produced a fashion photography photography exhibition in collaboration with The Room. This past year, he curated n exhibition, “New Meditations,” featuring work by both Canadian and international artists. Amaral co-chaired the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery’s 25th anniversary fundraiser, Power Ball: Quarter-Life Crisis, and Youth Line Art Auction. In 2013 he’ll be co-chairing the 10th anniversary of the Reel Artist’s Film Festival, and working towards two curatorial projects for Scrap Metal.

Lili Huston-Herterich, 24, is an artist and curator living in Toronto. In addition to an active studio practice, she has been the co-director and O’Born Contemporary since 2010, as well as founder and director of the project space, Butcher Gallery (2009). This year she will be working in her studio full-time, and is launching Butcher’s new nomadic programming. Her work was most recently exhibited in the group show, “De-Accessioned,” at Cooper Cole.

Georgia Dickie, 23, is an artist. She received her BFA from OCAD and has exhibited at Nudashank Gallery in Baltimore, MD; Toronto’s MKG127, Erin Stump Projects; the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, and the Oakville Galleries. In February 2013, Dickie will be participating in the Soi Fischer Thematic Residency Program with the artist, Artie Vierkant. She is currently represented by Cooper Cole and will exhibit her first solo show with the gallery in April.

Rose Bouthillier, 28, is the assistant curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland. Previously she was the assistant curator at Oakville Galleries, where she organized the group show, “Sublimination” (2011). She has held curatorial projects including a solo exhibition by Josh Thorpe, “The House” (2011) at Campbell House Museum, and “To Be Real” (2010) at Prefix Institute of Contemporary Art. Upcoming projects include a group exhibition exploring contemporary art in Cleveland and its surrounding region, co-curated with Megan Lykins at MOCA Cleveland. Bouthillier holds a BFA from Emily Carr University and an MFA from OCAD University, and her writing has been published in Frieze, C Magazine, and esse.

Aleksander Hardashnakov (b. 1982) is an artist and the founder, along with Hugh Scott-Douglas and Tara Downs, of Tomorrow Gallery. Hardashnakov had his first solo, "I'd Rather Be The Weather Than The Weatherman", with Clint Roenisch Gallery in 2011. All of the paintings in the exhibition were acquired by the National Bank of Canada. In 2012, Hardashnakov was a finalist in the RBC Painting Competition. He was also included in the group show, "trans/Form," at MOCCA and had his first solo in New York, "Bring Me The You From You," at Martos Gallery in Chelsea. He will have his second solo at Clint Roenisch in April 2013.

Bad Day Magazine

— Eva Michon, 27, is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Bad Day. She is also a filmmaker, and is currently completing a feature documentary in Los Angeles while working on various other video and photo projects. Michon is Polish, was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and grew up in the suburbs of Toronto. 

— Colin Bergh, 28, is the creative director and co-founder of Bad Dayas well as an accomplished graphic designer, having worked for Jeremy Laing, Toronto Life, Owen Pallett, and many others. He is also a DJ and musician, performing in the one-man band Wyrd Visions, and he hosts a popular weekly karaoke night in Toronto. 

— Jackie Linton, 28, is the publisher of “Bad Day,” and a recent NYU masters graduate from the publishing program. She's spent the last two years in New York, and has worked for Hearst Magazines, Conde Nast publications including the New Yorker, Phaidon Press, and Partners and Spade while contributing her writing to magazines such as Vice and Interview.

Xenia Ben-19076">Benivolski, 29 is a Moscow-born artist and curator living and working in Toronto. She is the founder of the Whitehouse studio and project space; “Rearviews,” a project in criticism; and the curatorial production and commissioning model, JANUS. Most recent projects include shows at Red Deer College, Alberta; Museo de ciudad, Mexico; WWTWO, Montreal, and “The Legend is Black,” at the Butcher Gallery. “Rearviews” is available at Art Metropole, Formats, and Printed Matter.

Lauren Wetmore, 27, is the curatorial assistant for the 2013 Carnegie International (opening at the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, October 5, 2013). She previously worked as program coordinator for Visual Arts Creative Residencies at the Banff center, Alberta, and as exhibition assistant for the Barbican Art Gallery, London, UK. She was an editorial resident at RE/Search Publications, San Francisco, and participated in Raimundas Malasauskas’s “Repetition Island” at the Centre George Pompidou. She holds an MFA in Criticism & Curatorial Practices from OCAD University, where her dissertation focused on J.G. Ballard’s 1969 novel, “The Atrocity Exhibition.”

Nicholas Brown, 30, is a Canadian curator based in New Haven, Connecticut. In the summer of 2011 he was curator-in-residence at Montreal’s the Darling Foundry. He is currently working at Yale University as a curatorial consultant. In the fall of 2012 he contributed the the multi-site exhibition, “Shaping Community,” whose artists included Sophie Calle and Shirin Neshat, along with curator Margaret Olin and Robert Storr, dean of Yale School of Art. In late 2012, Brown contributed to “One for you and one for me,” an anthology of artist multiples edited by Dave Dyment and Gregory Elgstrand. He is currently developing curatorial and publishing projects at Yale, and in New York and Toronto.

JP King & Kirsten McCrea

— JP King, 27, lives and works in Toronto, running Paper Pusher, a micro-publishing company specializing in Risograph printing. His relational newspaper publishing exhibit “Free Paper” (Whippersnapper Gallery, 2011), had King collaborating with over fifty artists and authors, and running the “Nomadesk,” a mobile writer’s residency. He was recently an artist-in-residence at the Klondike Institute of Arts & Culture, where he worked on “Manhole,” a hybrid graphic novel which utilizes text and photographs in their oft-historic exploration to examine themes of garbage, masculinity, and contemporary mythology. His writing and collages have been published and exhibited locally and internationally.

— Kirsten McCrea’s practice explores issues of cultural memory and value, examining pop versus underground culture, the media, and contemporary mythology. She recently completed the second phase of the ambitious 80-part painting series “Hot Topic,” which investigates the role of artist-as-memory-keeper through the creation of an alternate canon of feminist portraits. She is a frequent collaborator with the Montreal-based collective, En Masse, recently featured in the “Big Bang” installation at the Musée des Beaux Arts in Montreal, QC. Her project, Papirmasse, an affordable art subscription founded in 2008, explores alternative methods of art distribution and has to date sent nearly 10,000 prints to people around the world. She is 29 and recently moved to Toronto.

Vanessa Maltese, 24, holds a BFA from OCAD University, and received the 2010 Drawing and Painting Medal in her graduating year. Most notably, she was awarded National Winner in the 2012 RBC Canadian Painting Competition in late 2012, winning $25,000 and an immediate national spotlight. In February she will be participating in the Soi Fischer Thematic Residency Program with the artist, Artie Vierkant, at Artscape Gibraltar Point. She is currently represented in Toronto by Erin Stump Projects, having executed two solo exhibitions with the gallery to date. Maltese lives and works in Toronto.

Alex McLeod, 28, was born in Scarborough and graduated from the Ontario College of Art & Design in 2007 from the drawing and painting faculty, and “hasn’t touched a brush since.” Through digital prints, video, and installation, McLeod presents visuals that appear as if “they could exist in real life,” but are only composites of 1’s and 0’s birthed through a homemade render farm and some YouTube tutorials. Since his first exhibit in Toronto, in 2009, McLeod work has been presented internationally, from New York to New Zealand. Recently McLeod opened an exhibit at the Surrey Art Gallery with artist Brendan Tang. The exhibition involved a live feed of the gallery, real time composited video, and sculpture. In April, McLeod’s seventh exhibition at Angell Gallery will open, titled “out worlds.”

Robyn McCallum, 26, is the art coordinator at TD Bank Group, where she provides ongoing management for the bank’s corporate art collection of approximately 8,000 pieces, assists with new acquisitions to the collection, and manages all other aspects to do with artwork at TD. Additionally, McCallum plays a role in any TD arts-related sponsorships, including MASS MoCA’s recent exhibition, “Oh, Canada.” McCallum is a member of the Board of Directors of Images Festival, the largest festival in North America for experimental and independent moving image culture. As well, through Xxi Collective, which she co-founded, McCallum has put together exhibitions including “The Boreal Collective,” a 2011 CONTACT Festival feature exhibition, and most recently, “The Athanor and the Stone,” a feature project for Nuit Blanche 2011. She is a graduate of Ryerson University’s Image Arts program.

Alexander Josephson co-Founded PARTISANS, the architecture and design firm, in 2010 after leaving post-graduate studies at the AA in London to build projects in Toronto. He studied sculpture and architecture at the University of Waterloo and the University of Rome. He has been the recipient of numerous awards and publications including a New York Prize Fellowship, awarded by the Van Alen Institute for Architecture; Azure Magazine; and 20+Change.

Matthew Ryan Smith, 29, is a writer, educator, and independent curator based in Toronto. Smith recently received his Ph.D. in Art and Visual Culture from Western University. His writings have been featured in several Canadian and international publications including C Magazine, ArtUs, FUSE, ARTINFO Canada, and Magenta, as well as numerous exhibition catalogues (including Israeli artist Itamar Jobani’s). During the past summer he curated a group exhibition at the McIntosh Gallery in London, ON, entitled “Some Things Last a Long Time,” which investigated the viewer’s relationship to autobiographical artwork. He has forthcoming publications in the Canadian Journal of Native Studies and TOPIA: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies.

Matthew Hyland, 30, has been the director of Oakville Galleries since 2009. His recent curatorial projects for that institution include Tricia Middleton's sprawling site-specific installation, “Form Is the Destroyer of Force, Without Severity There Can Be No Mercy,” and the commission of Young & Giroux's newest film project, “Infrastructure Canada.” He is also working on a series of exhibitions that address key themes in contemporary feminist art practices, the second of which — “After My Own Heart,” focusing on feminist engagement with utopia — opens at Oakville Galleries this spring. In 2009, he was short-listed for the Lorenzo Bonaldi Award for Art, an international prize for curators under 30.

Katie Addleman, 29, is a writer, curator, and graduate student based in Toronto. She began writing about the visual arts as deputy editor of Barcelona Metropolitan magazine in 2007; her articles and reviews now appear regularly in publications including Canadian Art, Border Crossings, ELLE Canada, and artslant.com. In 2012 she was a curatorial intern at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, and her first exhibition, featuring contemporary painting, will open at Toronto’s Angell Gallery in March. Addleman will complete her MA in photographic studies at Ryerson University later this year. 

Danielle St. Amour, 29, is an artist and curator living and working in Montreal. Her practice is concerned with “complications of language and methods of collaboration within editorial/curatorial media.” In 2008, St. Amour founded Palimpsest Magazine, a collective multimedia publication in tandem with Willie Brisco, Tess Edmonson, Arianne DiNardo, Craig Fahner, and Jacqueline Lachance. She has initiated several publishing projects, most recently including “BEGINNING NO END//REARVIEWS,” with Xenia Ben-19076">Benivolski, and “WHAT DO WE DO NOW NOW WE WAIT,” with members of Palimpsest. Danielle has exhibited and curated exhibitions in Toronto, Vancouver, Halifax, Frankfurt, and North Adams, Massachusetts. Currently she is the co-directer of WWTWO, a project space and gallery in Montreal.  


VSVSVS is an eight-person collective and artist-run center based out of a warehouse in the Portlands of Toronto. Formed in 2010, its activities encompass collective art making, a residency program, a formal exhibition space, and individual studio practices. Current members are James Gardner, Wallis Cheung, Miles Stemp, Laura Simon, Stephen McLeod, Anthony Cooper, Ryan Clayton, and Jemma Egan. Its collective work focuses on the collaborative production of multiples, drawings, video works, sculpture, installations, and performance. VSVSVS recently exhibited at Art Metropole, released a new line of multiples, and produced a collective project event for Mercer Union.


Erin Stump, 31, is the director of Erin Stump Projects, also known as ESP. She received her BFA from Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 2004, and before that, attended l’École Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris. She co-directed the NSCAD Student Art Store, a Halifax-based commercial gallery now called Seeds Gallery. In 2007 she worked as a gallery assistant at Katharine Mulherin Contemporary Art Projects, and then co-launched Board of Directors with Mulherin in 2008, a collaborative curatorial project, where Stump began presenting exhibitions. Stump opened her solo gallery, ESP, in April 2011. A commercial gallery on Queen Street, ESP focuses on exhibiting emerging contemporary Canadian artists. Stump currently sits on the boards of Art with Heart and Canadian Art Gallery Hop curatorial committees.