Toronto Art Restoration Inc. (TARI) provides the services of restoration and conservation for works of art – paintings, sculptures, murals, works on paper, monuments and architectural arts. We perform services for private clients, the Canadian government, and corporate organizations for some of the most significant international and Canadian heritage artworks and buildings. We seek to preserve artefacts so they may live on to be enjoyed for years to come while restoring, rejuvenating and refreshing the aesthetic beauty of the artwork.
TARI (Toronto Art Restoration Inc.) consists of two head conservators – Alicia Coutts-Farrugia and Sjoukje van der Laan working with several other conservators, apprentices, appraisers, art handlers/installers and historians under their guidance. Mrs. Van der Laan, receiving her training in the conservation of post 19th-century artwork, and Mrs. Coutts-Farrugia in artwork and artefacts prior, have an experience spectrum that helps them to tackle the challenges many heritage icons of diverse materials face. Being close friends, they thoroughly enjoy the collaborative problem-solving process, experimenting with materials and techniques, and always aim to think outside of the box.
TARI is a member of The Canadian Association for Conservation of Cultural Property, The Architectural Conservancy Ontario, The International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works, The American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works and The Canadian Association of Personal Property Appraisers.
GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC COLLECTIONS
Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC)
The Government of Ontario Art Collection
Archives of Ontario
City of Toronto
The Superior Court of Justice
Canadian Parlament Buildings – Public Works
CIBC Commerce Court North Heritage Building
RBC Royal Bank of Canada Art Collection
North York Civic Centre
Scarborough Civic Centre
Toronto Public Library Mural
The Archdioceses of Toronto
The Archdioceses of London
McMaster Museum of Art
City of Orillia Town Hall Mural
City of Cambridge
City of Brantford Public Monuments
Region of Waterloo
City of Windsor
Toronto District School Board (TDSB)
Massey College Art Collection
Saint Joseph’s Hospital
Upper Canada College
Toronto and Thunder Bay Masonic Lodge
Alicia H. Coutts: Head Conservator
TARI Director and art conservator, Alicia Coutts, is accredited by the Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals (CAHP-ACECP). She has grown her private practice in art conservation to work for high-profile institutions such as The Government of Ontario Art Collection, The City of Toronto Art Collection, The Ministry of the Attorney General, The RBC Art Collection, The CIBC Art Collection, Archives of Ontario, The Superior Court of Justice and several museums, surrounding Toronto municipalities and corporate entities. She has led her team to restore several fine artworks, historical buildings, public art and monuments throughout Ontario.
Early in her career, she gained valuable insight into the world of museology by working at the Art Gallery of Ontario. A graduate of The Ontario College of Art and Design, she furthered her education at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, where she obtained a Masters of Fine Arts with honours. Following this, she published a book entitled ‘The Lost Synagogues of Poland’. Through this book, she researched and documented architectural conservation studies, which investigated the transformation of sacred buildings for utilitarian use in post WW2 Eastern Europe. She then went on to pursue her postgraduate art conservation studies in Florence, Italy at SACI. There, Alicia studied under restorers from the Opificio delle Pietre Dure – one of the most renowned laboratories in Europe. Thereafter, she was recruited to the studio of Dr. Roberta Lapucci – a specialist in the methods, materials and conservation of Caravaggio’s work.
Upon returning from Italy to her hometown of Toronto, Alicia worked for FPDR Ltd. as a conservator of architectural arts, including murals and sculptures, and restoring several churches throughout Ontario. In addition, she held the position of head of conservation and archiving for the Massey College Art Collection. She simultaneously launched Toronto Art Restoration Inc. for which she began working independently and soon after invited other accomplished conservators to collaborate in the company. She has gained hands-on experience restoring hundreds of works of art throughout her career, is a consultant to several governmental, museum, and corporate agencies and is a determined advocate for the preservation of Canadian and indigenous artworks.
Sjoukje van der Laan: Head Conservator
Sjoukje van der Laan works in both museum environments and private practice as an art conservator. She holds a Doctorate Degree (Ph Res), a Master’s Degree, and a Pre-Master Degree in Art Conservation & Restoration of Cultural Heritage & Science from the University of Amsterdam (Netherlands). She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Art History from The University of Groningen (Netherlands).
Sjoukje worked throughout the Netherlands under the art conservator, Karin van der Lem. She later focused her specialization towards the conservation of artwork from the early 20th century to present – encompassing painting and sculptures. After, she went on to work in the conservation studios of S.M.A.K. (Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst Gent) in Belgium, the Kunstmuseum Luzern Museum in Switzerland, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, as well as for the art collection of the Dutch government and several regional museums through Ontario. Now that she is settled in Toronto, she is one of the head conservators at Toronto Art Restoration Inc., as well as a contract conservator at The Art Gallery of Ontario.
In her position at Toronto Art Restoration Inc., Sjoukje holds a managerial role, overseeing the quality control of all conservators, teaching junior conservators and interns, as well as maintaining the chemistry department within the studio. While simultaneously holding a position at the Art Gallery of Ontario, she holds a conservator role, performing treatments on artworks by renowned artists such as Michelangelo Pistoletto, works by General Idea, John Scott, Simon Starling and several artworks from the permanent collection entitled: “As If Sand Were Stone: Contemporary Latin American Art”. She has performed the condition assessments, documentation, installation, packaging and repackaging, transportation, as well as maintenance cleaning for the following exhibitions: Mystical Landscapes: 37 artists from 14 countries, including Emily Carr, Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, Piet Mondrian, Claude Monet, Edvard Munch, Georgia O’Keeffe and James McNeill Whistler; Theaster Gates: How to Build a House Museum; Francis Alÿs: A Story of Negotiation, David Bowie is, Guillermo del Toro: At Home with Monsters and Yayoi Kusama and Infinity Mirrored Room – The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away. Sjoukje also regularly acts as an art conservation courier – travelling with artwork or to pick it up from foreign countries including transporting Rubens across the United States and Canada.
RACHEL STARK: OBJECTS CONSERVATION SPECIALIST
Rachel Stark is an accomplished objects conservator based in Toronto, Ontario. Beyond her major role at TARI, s he has extensive experience working across Canada in the arts and culture sector, with conservation contracts at major museums.
A graduate of the Ontario College of Art and Design, Rachel received an honours BFA in drawing and painting with a minor in art history. After several years of honing her artistic abilities, she then went on to complete the Fleming College Cultural Heritage Conservation and Management program, specializing in the conservation of cultural objects.
Since then, Rachel has worked at the Royal British Columbia Museum, The Reynolds Alberta Museum and The Royal Ontario Museum. In addition to this, Rachel has been the lead conservator on international projects. She has worked alongside conservators at the Museum of Nautical Archeology in Turkey and has been the lead conservation and collections manager for the Marzamemi Heritage Project. She has given presentations on conservation treatments at multiple Pacific Conservation Group conferences and the Archeological Institute of America conference.
Rachel was a leader in the post-fire disaster management conservation of a collection of First Nation Potlatch regalia (owned by the Kwakwaka’wakw Nation, of Alert Bay BC). Through this experience, Rachel collaborated with the community to develop a temporary exhibit for the Royal British Columbia Museum- Conservation Through Collaboration: Disaster Recovery In Action.
Vanessa Lemieux-A S: Paintings Conservator
Painting conservator, Vanessa Lemieux-A S completed her Italian training in the Florentine Methods of art restoration and conservation at the Istituto per l’Arte e il Restauro – Palazzo Spinelli. Before pursuing art conservation she completed her Canadian degrees in Visual Arts from Collège Rosemont, and Art History from Université du Québec à Montréal.
During her years in Italy, Vanessa specialized in the conservation of in-situ heritage arts (onsite murals, sculptures and architectural arts). Some of her most significant work includes the cleaning and structural repairs of numerous pieces at the Franciscan Sanctuary of La Verna. Most notably restored amongst the artworks was a pieces by the Florentine Barocco artist, Pier Dandini. Other significant sites of Vanessa’s restorative work include The Ospedale Santa Maria Nuova, The Fondazione Conservatori Riuniti di Siena, The monastery of Badia Fiesolana, The Villa del Poggio Imperiale, The Church of San Francesco di Assisi and The Cathedral of Fiesole (Arcidiocesi di Fiesole), where she restored a painting from the Florentine Barocco artist, Francesco Curradi.
Once returning to Canada, Vanessa set up her private practice conservation studio in Montreal. Her experience has allowed her to master restorative techniques for a variety of paintings on canvases, wood panels, and metal. Vanessa is now a great asset to Toronto Art Restoration Inc. as an in-studio conservator as well her lead role for on-site projects. Her efforts restoring the Stations of the Cross in Toronto Roncesvalles’ St-Vincent-de-Paul church is a great example of her skills.
SAHRA CAMPBELL: OBJECTS, PUBLIC ART, ARCHITECTURAL AND MATERIAL ANALYSIS CONSERVATOR
Sahra has earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Concordia University and a post-graduate diploma at the Willowbank School of Restoration Arts. She also holds a professional trade diploma in millwork from l’École des métiers du meuble de Montréal.
Upon completion of her studies, she worked for Jablonski Building Conservation in New York City, assisting the conservation team in performing analysis and colour investigations. She then relocated to London, England, where she led a team in the photographic, diagnostic and treatment documentation of cast iron, glass and timber during the restoration period of the Temperate House. This was the largest remaining glasshouse in the world and a Grade 1 listed building within the Kew Gardens UNESCO World Heritage Site. She was also recently contracted by ERA Architects to perform an inventory and study of the icons in Ottawa’s historic district from 1970-1990.
Sahra has worked for various conservation companies on iconic historical sites, public art and monuments throughout the UK and Canada. Some highlighted projects she has participated in include Windsor Castle (Windsor), Westminster Abbey (London), Uphill Manor (Somerset), Battersea Arts Centre (London), Sacred Heart Church (Caterham), Delapre Abbey (Northampton), Gorton Monastery (Manchester) and Knole House (Kent). She most recently completed an independent project in Hamilton, Ontario, conserving the historic stencilled plaster in the front hall of historic Gage House in Battlefield Park.
Benjamin Oakley: Head Installation, Packaging and Transportation Specialist
Benjamin Oakley has been working as a professional art installer and museum technician in Toronto for over 15 years. He is a passionate visual artist who has developed plans and constructed major exhibitions at The Art Gallery of Ontario, The Gardiner Museum, The Textile Museum, The Power Plant as well as other public and private collections. Oakley has installed artwork for many renowned international artists such as Julian Schnabel, Joni Mitchell, Brian Jungen and Michael Snow. He has also held a major role in the successful installation of large-scale exhibitions such as David Bowie: Is, Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musee National Picasso, Ai Weiwei: According to What and countless others. Oakley’s extensive art handling experience, knowledge, and personal communication skills has helped him gain the trust of many international artists. He has been appointed to fabricate, install and travel with their artwork as an additional safety procedure for traveling exhibitions. In addition to the fabrication and installation of artwork, Oakley builds high-end custom conservation crates for transportation and storage as well as museum quality vitrine.
Aside from his position as The Head Installation, Packaging and Transportation Specialist at Toronto Art Restoration Inc., Oakley holds a lead installation technician position at the Art Gallery of Ontario.
DR. JOHN M J FARRUGIA: BRONZE CASTING, RESTORATION AND CUSTOM STEELWORK
Dr. John Farrugia has gained a Bachelor of Arts from St Francis Xavier University, a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design University and a Master of Fine Arts and Doctorate in studio sculpture and art history from the Edinburgh College of Art and the University of Edinburgh. After his studies, John was a professor of sculpture at the Edinburgh College of Arts and later at the Edna Manley College of Visual & Performing Arts. At both locations, he was also the Director of the bronze foundry.
Since moving back to Toronto in 2011, John opened his bronze casting and restoration workshop, Craganrock Studio Inc. John has been working closely with TARI since 2014 as he performs involved bronze treatments, such as complete striping and re-patination, as well as helping with maintenance procedures, building custom hardware and restoring sculptural armatures. He also maintains a strong private client base, is a specialist contractor to Artcast Inc. and regularly exhibits his artwork.
Josh Dales: Frame and Gilding Conservator
Josh Dales is a highly trained frame conservator specialising in 16th-20th-century European picture frames. He gained his art conservation and frame restoration training in England, where he has worked in some of the most high-profile art institutions and collections in the country. After honing his gilding and restoration skills from a young age in his family business, Colin Dales Fine Art Restoration, he gained his degree in Art Conservation at the City & Guilds of London Art School. Becuase of his exceptional talent he has gone on to hold long term positions at such establishments as The Royal Collection Trust at Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, and The Victoria and Albert Museum.
Joseph Farrugia: Historical Researcher and Appraiser
For the last five years, Joseph Farrugia has been performing fine art historical, authenticity, provenance, cultural heritage and financial appraisal studies exclusively for Toronto Art Restoration Inc. (TARI). He is an appraiser, certified by the Canadian Personal Property Appraisal Group (CPPAG). With TARI, Joseph has experience working with several corporate entities and private Canadian and international clients. In 2003, Joseph completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD) University and also attended the University of Canterbury, where he studied Art History. Before working with TARI, Joseph was employed for several years as a teacher of Art History.
PATRICK FISHER: CUSTOM FRAMER AND DISPLAY FABRICATOR
Patrick Fisher has a background in woodworking, fabrication and finishing. He is knowledgeable and experienced in conservation archival picture and fine art framing and he also fabricates plinth and display cases. He gained his degree in craft and design from Sheridan College in 2008. In the past, he has worked as a custom fabricator for FrameMakers, Frame of Mind Gallery and Telegramme Prints and Custom Framing. Since opening his studio, Archetype Custom Framing in 2013, he has worked for several institutional and private collectors, businesses and artists. Beyond working for several high-profile TARI clients, he has also worked for such collections as the TD Permanent Art Collection, Nike Canada, Angell Gallery, the Living Arts Centre, the Seneca College Permanent Art Collection and SNC-Lavalin.