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Queen East will give the epically avant-garde Queen West a run - make that a walk - for its rep this weekend with the 11th annual Riverdale Art Walk. The RAW crawl exhibits works by "100 of the best artists in Ontario" (so say organizers) at venues along Queen East, Carlaw and at Jimmie Simpson Park. The first in the city's season of al fresco art shows, RAW launches the outdoor scene with local colour. The juried show - panelists include AGO artophile Diane Boyer - is put on by the Riverdale Artists' Network, a 150-member collective run out of east-end arty hub the Hang Man Gallery. Jurist Rod Trider says of the bigger-than-ever event: "We have a really strong selection this year, with lots of young edgier work to keep people on their toes." Here, some critical picks for collectors who can walk, bike, or TTC the circuit, with a stop in the new Steam Whistle beer tent should inspiration run dry.

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1. Painter Karin Lapins combines comic-book appeal with a post-Impressionist palette: a Dick Tracy-meets-Toulouse-Lautrec sensibility that also borrows edginess from brooding expressionists like Max Beckmann.

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Dark Horse Espresso Bar,

682 Queen St. E.

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2. East-end Toronto painter Marianne Botha keeps her eye on the birdie: in her sparse Hokusai-like landscapes, a lone swallow conjures themes of dislocation and exile, to cerebral, head-tilting effect. Jimmie Simpson Park

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3. Hamilton-based pastelist Gordon Leverton took a Best of RAW award last year for his stark and moody Hopperesque cityscapes of GTA and Hamilton streets. This year, he paints the town with increasingly abstract sensibility. Jimmie Simpson Park

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4. Fifth-year exhibitor Matt Durant pairs an op-art blueprint with abstract expressionist gesture on richly textured refuse wood. His line-heavy geometrics incorporate urban silhouettes and seeming stylized graffiti.

Jimmie Simpson Park

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5. Oscar Wolfman's provocative photography straddles (sometimes literally) the complexity of gay Judaism. A former choreographer, his cheeky corpus of classically-inspired shots turns the gaze on the male nude.

Jimmie Simpson Park

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6. Actor Andrew Stelmack plays with colour in his eye-catching monochromatic canvases. Myriad layers of acrylic create a dreamy translucent palimpsest that's punctuated with loose brushstrokes. Joy Bistro,

884 Queen St. E.

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7. Laura Heaney renders anatomical excerpts - skulls, ears, facial hair and teeth - with jaw-dropping realism. Her eccentric, fetishistic portraits blend a whimsical memento mori sentiment with Gothic grotesque. Mercury Organic Espresso Bar, 915 Queen St. E.

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8. At a factory-turned-atelier-loft, Deborah Fisher spins nostalgia with vintage-loaded collage miniatures (4 by 4 inches). The retro composites draw on found 1950s magazines and scientific textbooks to create unexpected juxtapositions à la Dada. 276 Carlaw Ave., Unit 101

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