When you have fine art around you, your life becomes finer as well,” says Peter Priede.
In one way or another, Peter and Belinda, his wife, have been living that philosophy for more than 35 years as gallery owners and promoters, including the past 15 years as owners of Hazelton Fine Art Galleries.
This summer, the Yorkville-based gallery is adding a seasonal location in Port Carling, giving Muskoka patrons a chance to make their own lives finer.
The collection of works in Port Carling has been selected specifically with Muskoka cottages in mind. “People come to Muskoka for the landscapes, the cottages, the lakes. We want to reflect that in our location,” says Peter.
That has meant curating a collection of works that are as diverse and interesting as cottages themselves. The gallery features an array of sculptures, paintings, photographs and prints in a wide range of styles, produced by celebrated artists as well as those who are just beginning to make a name for themselves.
The collection will be changing weekly, as new works are brought up from the Toronto gallery and shown in Muskoka.
Abraham Anghik Ruben and Ryan A. Sobkevich
One of the lead artists in the gallery is Abraham Anghik Ruben. Working mainly in soapstone, he is one of the top Inuit artists in the country. A member of the Order of Canada, his work has been featured in shows at the National Gallery, the Smithsonian Institute, and others, and is found in museums across the country.
“These are museum-level works that attract serious collectors,” says Peter.
The other lead artist is painter Ryan A. Sobkevich. He produces large, vibrant landscapes, often painting on location to capture the mood as well as the likeness of a scene. His work has been shown in Cairo and Belfast and is found in a number of private and corporate collections.
“Ryan is from Georgian Bay, and his work really speaks to this area,” says Peter, adding that the painter also accepts commissions.
The array of other works includes prints by celebrity photographer Mark Seliger as well as other Indigenous carvings, including one by Manasie Akpaliapik carved from a 200-plus-year-old piece of whalebone.
The gallery will also be showing a number of modern masters this summer, including pieces by Dali, Chagal and Matisse, as well as other artists.
“Our main goal is to help people connect with work they love and discover the joys of fine art,” says Peter.
TEXT A. WAGNER-CHAZALON | PHOTOS ANDREW FEARMAN