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Art collected by dentist in exchange for dental work part of new exhibit

Over 25 years he's collected quite a bit
Boy Sitting on a Tire by Adad Hannah and I Barely Touched you by Graham Gilmore will be part of the art show Teeth, Loan and Trust Company, Consolidated: The Trylowsky Collection | Submitted

An upcoming art show in North Vancouver has an unusual beginning at a dentist's office in downtown Vancouver.

Zenon Trylowsky started his practice 25 years ago in downtown Vancouver. As with most businesses, payment was normally money. However, that wasn't always the case, as some of his patients — namely artists — paid with their art. Now, two and a half decades later, an art exhbition will celebrate that decision, along with the collection Trylowsky has grown over the years, both through gifts and purchases.

"Some of Canada's most famous artists are in the collection, and some of Canada's least famous artists are part of the collection," says curator, art historian and writer Patrik Andersson.

As an early patient of Trylowsky's he's worked with the dentist before, putting on around 10 shows over the years in the dentist's office in the Vancouver Block building at Granville and Georgia.

One of the things that drew Andersson to creating the show Teeth, Loan and Trust Company, Consolidated: The Trylowsky Collection, after he was asked about ideas by the Griffin Art Project, was the idea that art collections don't have to be built through purchases alone. He says he wanted to focus on other models of collecting art, and Trylowsky's collection offered an option.

"I didn't want to showcase a collector who has a lot of money and buys whatever they want," Andersson tells Vancouver is Awesome.

In this case, it involved a relationship and bartering, mixing personal and business lives.

"What interests me is that a dentist will often make a mould of your teeth in order to see the state of your teeth," he says. "My exhibition is a little like that; an impression of the art he's been collecting."

Often the art Trylowsky traded his services for would adorn the walls of his practice and office.

"Instead of looking of prints of cheesy landscapes or posters of perfect smiles with ads for toothpaste, when you go to this office, there could be a video work on the wall," Andersson explains. "Every time you go to the dentist it's like going to the art exhibition."

One aspect he's interested in presenting is how varied the collection is. Without a theme, like a specific artist, topic or style, Andersson looks forward to putting on a varied show with traditional two-dimensional pieces like drawings and paintings along with ceramics, film, and installation pieces.

"It's exciting and I'm hoping the exhibition will be something people will want to go and explore," he says.

He adds that not all the artists know each other, with established and emerging artists showing next to each other. 

Now the Griffin Art Project will be hosting a Teeth, Loan and Trust Company, Consolidated for the fall at its space in North Vancouver. With an opening spread out over three days (Sept. 24 to 26), the exhibit will be on the walls at 1174 Welch St., North Vancouver, until Dec. 11, 2021. Admission is free and the gallery is open Fridays to Sundays, 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.