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article imageToronto Fringe Festival introduces outlet for visual artists Special

By Melissa Hayes     Jul 14, 2011 in Entertainment
Toronto - The annual Toronto Fringe Festival has broadened its scope beyond performance art with the debut of Visual Fringe, showcasing the works of various artists, featuring paintings, photography, collages, sculptures and sound installation.
Located in the alleyway behind Honest Ed’s, Visual Fringe is described on the event’s official website as “a living, breathing, uncensored art happening that brings an unexpected space to life.” Visitors are free to stop by and take in each exhibit, talk to the artists and purchase their work, with all proceeds going directly to the originator—a custom that has long been routine with the festival, no matter the medium.
Among the eight artisans accepted into Fringe on a first-come basis, their creations on display in tents set up along the alleyway, is Toronto native David Swartz, who said he thinks the festival's addition of visual artists was an excellent initiative.
“It’s great for exposure, it’s great for the Fringe, it makes for a lot of colour in the alley, and I think people enjoy it,” he told Digital Journal.
Swartz, who has been painting and sculpting since 1999, brought with him a variety of pieces to the event, including colourful depictions of birds, ladders and free-form shapes as well as plaster sculptures constructed of unlikely objects, as part of his showcase, The Invisible And in the Hand Takes a Stand in the Sand!
Drawing inspiration from not only the works of his late father, artist Marvin Swartz, the painter and sculptor said he also looks to his own artistic philosophy, influenced by the poetry of the English language and its use of conjunctions. Swartz said the idea, pegged on his website as the "Hand the And! art movement," was realized through researching the universal conjunction concept in the Andology Handbook, while attending the University of Toronto’s Comparative Literature program.
“A lot of my art, rather than focusing on style or content, is about focusing on the creative, conjunctive glue that binds things together, about the ‘and’ itself,” he said. “So I like to randomly juxtapose different ideas and different shapes. Sometimes I glue things together, but there’s a real emphasis on hands and ands.”
Artist David Swartz describes the method behind his works  showcased at Visual Fringe.
Artist David Swartz describes the method behind his works, showcased at Visual Fringe.
Andrew Ardizzi
Describing the "and" as "a place of milk and honey,” Swartz aims to inspire and express the idea that the hand holds a creative connection to any medium, and opens up the possibility of allowing art to form itself—applying this idea to anything from canvas to sculptures composed of bicycle wheels and candleholders.
“Many of the sculptures come out of chaos, so I take wire and I bend it into all kinds of different directions, and then I force it into a different order, different patterns, and I let the sculptures discover themselves,” he said.
So far, Swartz has said the festival has allowed him networking opportunities as well as interest from buyers.
“I’ve gotten really excellent feedback, I’ve met all kinds of people who are part of different institutions and private individuals interested in the work, so I’ve made some good connections.”
In addition to his involvement in Visual Fringe, Swartz lent his talents to the creation of a mural for friend, actress and playwright Lauren Stein’s theatrical contribution to the festival, Laurentina’s Funhouse. Together, they also host Transcendental Mirror, a variety show and improv theatre outlet, featuring a mixture of performance and visual art on Thursday nights in Kensington Market.
While Swartz said he enjoys visual artistry, owns his own gallery and offers workshops on the subject, he has aspirations to someday play an active role in the theatrical world as well.
You can find Swartz, occasionally tweaking his works, alongside a handful of other artists at the Visual Fringe location, July 6 – 17.
Artist David Swartz works on a piece during Toronto s Fringe Festival.
Artist David Swartz works on a piece during Toronto's Fringe Festival.
Andrew Ardizzi
Artist David Swartz explains the structure of one of his works at Visual Fringe.
Artist David Swartz explains the structure of one of his works at Visual Fringe.
Andrew Ardizzi
Artist David Swartz discusses his artistic philosophy at his tent on-site at Visual Fringe.
Artist David Swartz discusses his artistic philosophy at his tent on-site at Visual Fringe.
Andrew Ardizzi
More about toronto fringe festival, Fringe, visual fringe, david swartz, the invisible and in the hand takes a stand in the
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