Queen West Art Crawl (Queen between University and Lansdowne) Friday to Sunday (September 17-19). 416-392-1038, www.torontoartscape.on.ca. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
Judging by the large size of JJ Lee's canvases, you'd never guess her studio is smaller than her bathroom. It's the kind of trivia available only to those lucky enough to visit her home-based studio in the heart of Parkdale.
You walk through the 50s-inspired apple-green kitchen to the studio in back, where thick-bristled brushes are jammed into jars, Chinese papers are pinned to the wall, and her library holds art and botanical books. You see how her home's richly painted walls, cozy furnishings and bright, glass-enclosed studio complement the lush tones in her paintings. In contrast to the usual shows in white-walled rectangular galleries, this is a rare experience of art in intimate surroundings.
This weekend, the gallery-weary can traipse around Artscape 's second Queen West Art Crawl to enjoy art in a different context. In addition to the open studios (Lee's is one of 29), a full calendar of activity options includes outdoor art in Trinity Bellwoods Park, community events and theatrical installations.
For those who wish to use this opportunity to gallery hop, be sure to stop in at XEXE Gallery (624 Richmond West, 416-646-2706) for the first Young Artist Showcase. The powerful work by 15 artists between the ages of 16 and 20 was chosen from a citywide search. The maturity of the themes and skill level of the work will teach you something about today's youth and Toronto's art future.