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Terence Dick
Toronto
November 29, 2007
Making the rounds in a businesslike fashion this week, I got nailed, as I always do, landing in the gap between one show and the next. Kim Dorland’s goopy paintings, the canvas equivalent of eye-candy, had just been carted away at the Angell Gallery, and then I walked into the installation of Heather Goodchild’s mind-boggling The Revelations of Anna Ward Brouse as Katherine Mulherin packed boxes for the Miami art fairs. I was too early for The Power Plant, where Steven Shearer, Stephen Andrews, and Andrea Bowers open tomorrow and too late for annhomanART, who celebrate their inaugural exhibition with a closing party Friday night as well. Lucky for me, not everyone clings to the same schedule, and so I caught some delights amid the disappointments.
 
 
Sherri Hay, Disaster Dome, 2007
 
First up was Sherri Hay and her tragical snow globes at Christopher Cutts Gallery. Both delightful and mournful, in their resting state, these elegant objects contain scenes of urban ruin in the aftermath of natural disasters. Houses are torn open, cars lie crumbled, bodies are strewn through the streets. Shake them up and the debris starts flying, the wreckage tumbling, and the people spilling through the air (water?). What would normally be the moment of wonder in your traditional snow globe becomes a terrible reminder of the fragility of our everyday lives. The all-white interiors make them monuments on a minor scale, stand-ins for any number of global tragedies. Buy one along with Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine for the arch-conservative on your Christmas List.
 
On a lighter note, Interaccess reigns supreme as the gallery in town that requires the most reading to get what’s going on in their exhibitions. Not that that’s a bad thing! It’s just an observation. They are presenting two parallel shows right now. Sound Cycles are bicycles by Jessica Thompson and Dave McCallum rigged for sound and made to be ridden. Be prepared to take them out on the streets. I was not prepared, so instead I perused Mobile City, confused by the results of Julie Andreyev’s data-gathering car, bemused by Stephanie Rothenberg’s moc-doc on pervasive radiation frequencies, and curious about the real-life experience (as opposed to the in-gallery video version) of Dave Kemp’s camera obscura van. Your last chance to go for a ride in it takes place this Saturday, starting at noon.
 
 
Pattern Theory, installation view, MKG127
 
Stumbling into MKG127 on a grey November day, I was immediately drawn to the vibrant colours of Instant Coffee’s mattress-blanket-pedestal. Delicious oranges, pinks, and blues! Exactly what I needed, and a surprise for me to see an IC piece that held its own apart from the social milieu the group usually relies on. I wasn’t feeling the other works in this group show, Pattern Theory, until I lay eyes on Liss Platt’s luminescent spyrograph drawings. Add in the retro-factor and I fell in love with these busy, so busy, flowers, atoms, and galaxies. They wouldn’t stop moving! Now that I am too old for drugs, I might have to invest in one. Finally, I understand Op Art.
 
Speaking of retro, Thrush Holmes Empire is exhibiting the emperor’s new work and my immediate reaction is that this is what art in the 80s must have been like. Not that that’s a bad thing! But check out these massive mixed media STATEMENTS (writ large) and then use your mind’s photoshop to slip them into the background of some cocaine kingpin’s penthouse boudoir in an episode of Miami Vice. You must see what I mean! And that makes them fun, but not exactly my style.
 
 
Michel de Broin, Shared Propulsion Car, 2005, car body, pedals, gears
                     
And then there’s Mercer Union. A custom-gutted car rigged with bicycle pedals by 2007 Sobey Award winner Michel de Broin takes up the main gallery. It feels like the remains of a performance piece and the accompanying video monitor shows you the real deal: footage of the vehicle slowly making its way down city streets. Four Mercer minions made it from the gallery to Strachan before the cops pulled them over. The court case against driver Dean Baldwin is pending. In the back room, Janet Morton’s wall of pale flowers and vines isn’t the punch of colour I was hoping for. If I want grey, I can go outside and so I do.  
 
Terence Dick is a freelance writer living in Toronto. His art criticism has appeared in Canadian Art, BorderCrossings, Prefix Photo, Camera Austria, Fuse, Mix, C Magazine, and The Globe and Mail. He is the media columnist for This Magazine, music editor at Broken Pencil and editor of Akimblog.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Christopher Cutts Gallery: http://www.cuttsgallery.com/
Sherri Hay continues until December 15.
 
Mobile City/Sound Cycles continues until December 1.
 
Pattern Theory continues until December 22.
 
See website for current exhibitions.
 
Michel de Broin: Shared Propulsion Car continues until December 8.
Janet Morton: Overgrown continues until December 8.

 

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