Steve Chmilar, “In the Divide,” 2016, oil on Masonite, 16 x 16 inches

Thoughtful questions abound during a three-night-only exhibition featuring incredible oils by a Toronto-based painter. It’s centered on themes of farming and labor — but will you discover an opportunity for personal growth?

#Hashtag Gallery in Toronto, Canada, will be presenting several breathtaking oils by local painter Steve Chmilar this week. On view only from June 23 through June 25, “The Wrong Century” is a brilliant journey into Chmilar’s childhood as a staunch farmhand and seeks to encourage a number of thoughtful questions.

Steve Chmilar, “Emergence from a Shallow Pool that was Mistaken for a Formidable Sea,” 2016, oil on board, 24 x 36 inches

As the gallery writes, “Is this the wrong time period to produce this kind of art? Does labour in itself make an object more valuable? What knowledge should we keep from the past while moving into the Future? Each stunningly ambitious painting begins with dozens of sketches, followed by the careful construction of small-scale scenes made from wood, paper, clay and miscellaneous detritus. Chmilar then photographs the tiny set, like a high-budget film studio in miniature, to use as a reference for the painting, before redrawing the composition from scratch onto a wood panel and painting over it.

Steve Chmilar, “Post Emergence Plight,” 2017, oil on Masonite, 44 x 64 inches

“Chmilar’s paintings are the result of an earnest practice and unbound invention. His work is inspired by the brushwork and detail of 18th-Century European paintings and brings characters to life who are locked in a unique bizarre struggle. Sometimes absurd and intentionally out of fashion, he uses earth-tone pigments to bring new light to the antiquated look of tattered edges and unflattering forms. The human figure acts as a vehicle to portray self-imposed hardship, human folly, self-awareness and personal growth.”

Steve Chmilar with his work “Post Emergence Plight”

To learn more, visit Steve Chmilar or #Hashtag Gallery.

This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


  1. Every now and then we are blessed by brilliance like that of Mr. Chmilar. And just as he pokes his head above the crap we are used to, permit me to say, dear Toronto, that we would do well to take note before we lose him to greener pastures.

  2. Did you really write this and MEAN it? “Does labour in itself make an object more valuable?” Is it your belief that this young man’s work is merely about hours put in? You do not see SKILL which few people possess?
    I find that commentary incredibly insulting to the talent evident here. So you think with sufficient hours some hack like Hockney could produce something like this? Really?


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