Category: Review

Tina Guyani | Deer Road

Review November 14, 2019

By Juilee Raje

 

A hide suspended from the ceiling engulfs the room in a tawny glow. Though when I first walked into the gallery I was bathed in warm light and brightly coloured blankets, a closer inspection of the works revealed encounters with baleful spirits. A lone footstool conjured a somnolent ache for warmth, a persistent drone reverberated around the walls and gnawed on my senses. Glittering pennies invited me to circle around displays of taxidermy bucks with their antlers adorned with bells, but also vandalized with yellow barricade tape screaming: ENVIRONMENTALLY SENSITIVE AREA, ENVIRONMENTALLY SENSITIVE AREA. Read More

Blur at the Art Gallery of Ontario

Review October 30, 2019

By Ricky Varghese

 

In the Right of Inspection, Jacques Derrida wrote of the medium of photography in these terms: “You could speak of…[a photograph] as of a thinking, as a pensiveness without a voice, whose only voice remains suspended.” I was reminded of this evocative description when I saw Sandra Brewster’s show Blur, on view at the Art Gallery of Ontario from July 24, 2019 to March 29, 2020. The association between Brewster’s work and Derrida’s thinking was brought on by those very final words in the latter’s statement—“…voice [remaining] suspended.” (1) In fact, suspension—or rather what it means to be suspended, to be seen in a seeming state of frozen arrest, both within the frame and, perhaps, beyond it—seems to be an apt way of understanding and talking about the artist’s new work. Read More

the body is a butter brain at Calaboose

Review September 29, 2019

By Rosemary Flutur

 

1

 I walk along St Charles street toward Charlevoix Metro, an April afternoon with a chill, and do so with speed, hoping that action, like rubbing sticks, gets me warm. The sun helps a bit—its eye lit wide in an otherwise undisturbed sky—but it is my moving body, my temporary companion, that really thaws me.

I pass through the Metro doors and pay my fare with blemished coins. Today I opt for the escalator over the stairs, not for a quicker descent but for stasis; my body deserves it after all the rapid movement. Forced into action again when the stairs fall flat into the floor, I make my way toward the subway tracks. With each step I move further into the sour air of the Metro’s basement, into an air that never changes, but waits, like breath, to be exhaled. It never does; instead it sits unreplenished in tiled corridors, the city’s wet subterranean lungs. Read More

Fortune Flavors the Bold at Xpace’s Project Space

Review September 11, 2019

By Rebecca Casalino

 

Before entering Arezu Salamzadeh’s Fortune Flavors the Bold you must take off your shoes. Sock-footed, you are greeted by glittering red foam installed over the floor of Xpace Cultural Centre’s Project Space. Dark teal walls enclose the gallery, framing crates and shelves of items for sale. Fresh mandarin oranges are available to purchase as snacks, there’s also ginger and colourful ceramic casts of salty fish inside large glass jars. Salamzadeh stands by the cash register (a children’s toy brightly coloured with large cartoonish buttons) tattooed with lucky cats, selling art and chatting with visitors. She wears gold which compliments the New Years pouches decorating the walls and plinths in large blocks of red. Behind her, a gold sign with small red lights reading FORTUNE hangs above a gumball machine. On the other side, a large lucky cat about the same size as the viewer squats beside, as if to snap a picture. Read More

The Sentient Object: Calder versus Hay

Review August 28, 2019

By Maryse Arseneault

 

Last winter the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts held a retrospective on Alexander Calder, which offered a rare chance to share space with his famous mobiles, arguably the precursors of kinetic art. Breaking the threshold between abstraction and figuration, Calder’s suspended creature-like objects were born from subtle mechanisms with slow reactions and a geometric formulation that lures and lulls, favouring a contemplative spectator. The American artist marked modern art with his conception of these performative sculptures, and continues to be an important influence on new generations of sculptors who have succeeded him. As part of this succession, the artist-run OBORO centre invited Toronto and Brooklyn-based sculptor Sherri Hay to produce new sculptural activations in their space during the fall of 2018. Calder and Hay—who seem to be working with, at times parallel and at others, divergent motivations—position their practices as a kind of metaphysical response. Equally preoccupied by contemporary concerns, Calder is interested in the phenomenon of movement and the relativistic notion of “space-time”, while Hay inclines towards a neo-materialism that helps unsettle some of the more entrenched conceptual limits of the Anthropocene. In both cases, the idea of ​​a mechanical object’s agency compels a kind of radical empathy towards the material and confronts us with our imperious relation to the object. Read More

magnetic_T at the New Media Gallery

Review August 14, 2019

By Hailey Mah

 

I usually visit art galleries in order to gain some feeling of shared humanity, to learn more about the inner workings of others and, subsequently, to reflect on my own. My recent visit to the New Media Gallery’s exhibition, magnetic_T drew me in another direction⁠—I left feeling like a witness to the evocative power of materials and their forces. The shows focus on invisible magnetic energy created parallels between ecological, physical, and social phenomena, allowing for an interdisciplinary range of perspectives to emerge and interact. Read More

Towards a Contemporary Caprice: Every empire has an end at Franz Kaka

Review July 23, 2019

By Lucas Regazzi

 

Capriccio, or Caprice—as it’s been anglicized—refers to a historical genre of painting developed over the 16th to 18th century. Artists of the genre proposed, for the first time in Western history, that ruination architecture be ushered from background to subject. Immediately preceding this, architectural depiction in the Roman tradition of painting was relegated to ceiling frescoes, illusioning space to elicit divine wonder in God’s house. With this understanding of symbolic potential, artists began fantasizing architecture—assembling disparate buildings and monuments in pictorial space, or imagining new buildings and circumstances altogether—as a sort of visual poetry. At the genre’s height, the most notable caprices depicted dilapidation. Read More

Animal Love: Catherine P. at Egret Egress

Review July 11, 2019

By Jessica Baldanza

 

At first glance, the titular Animal Love of Catherine P.’s solo exhibition at Egret Egress is puppy love—the kind of sanguine affection one feels capable of in the early days of a new romance. This impression is gleaned from Catherine P.’s saccharine artist’s statement, as well as the soft textile wall-works of naively articulated pups batting lashes and touching noses. And yet, the works inspire a palpable dis-ease, the source of which reveals itself only when one makes themselves vulnerable to the works, so as to reflect the circumstances in which they were made. Read More

Night Sweat: Elizabeth McIntosh at Tanya Leighton Gallery

Review June 26, 2019

By Jasmine Reimer

 

I’ve always admired the energy with which Elizabeth McIntosh delivers paint. It’s not dramatic and performed like slinging or flinging or pouring. It’s spontaneous and less grandiose, instantaneous like a thought that propels you out of a chair. I can trace her movements with my eye and then vicariously with my body and, as a result, feel a satisfying connection to her via an understanding of her gestures. In her newest body of work at Tanya Leighton Gallery in Berlin, McIntosh sustains the ease of this maker-viewer relationship while giving us something we didn’t know we wanted, like a devoted and yet savvy lover. Said with less sexuality, her new series of paintings titled Night Sweat, open up the often controlled and organized illusionistic space of abstract painting, allowing for the formal and historic to become personal and specific. Read More

Tal Sofia: I am so afraid of words at Ignite Gallery

Review June 13, 2019

By Chelsea Rozansky

 

In 1933, Sophie Rosenbaum packed her things and left her native Berlin to go to Argentina. Among her possessions was a collection of postcards, one side bearing pictures of celebrities popular in Germany when Rosenbaum was a kid: famous singers, movie stars, directors. On the other side were autographed signatures and the street address of the home Rosenbaum was to leave behind. They must have been important to her, the postcards. Presumably, she could only take with her the essentials and valuables. Read More