In advance of the art fair this coming weekend, a lot of galleries closed shows last weekend in preparation for big openings in a couple days. The launch of Jessica Bradley's bigger Annex space is certainly something to be giddy about, as is a new installation at Scrap Metal Gallery and the Sobey Prize show at MOCCA. Some folks thought to beat the rush and one such opening this past Saturday took place at General Hardware on Queen West West West.
Jinny Yu, Non-Painting Painting, 2012, oil on aluminum
Ducking past decaying hipsters on their way back from the Toronto Zombie Walk, I found myself responding to Jinny Yu's Non-Painting Painting exhibition much like the way I responded to a student who asked me who I thought won the recent (second) presidential debate. I told him that the question required a number of qualifications. Did he mean who was most right? Who won over the audience? Who I liked? None of the possible answers could be definitive because the nature of the event was that only the election would indicate who had won and only in an indirect way. Then I imagined myself being asked if I thought Yu's work was good and again proceeded to interrogate the question. Did I find the non-paintings appealing? No, not really, but I didn't think that was their intent. Rather than inspiring visual pleasure, they act as prompts for reflecting on various ideas about painting. Did I like the ideas? Were they my ideas or hers? Were they clearly projected and effective in their address? So many questions, and, given that Yu had already problematized the status of her work by both negating and affirming their status as paintings, how was I even to begin to answer them? I wasn't expecting such philosophical reflection on a Saturday afternoon, but it certainly left me feeling more satisfied than the war of rhetoric from our neighbours to the south.
Lois Andison, Solving Man Ray's Obstruction, 2012, maple, stainless steel rod, bearings, bushings, powder coated aluminum, motor, clutch, custom electronics
Puzzles also abound in Lois Andison's exhibition at Olga Korper, but her materials are words and custom crafted mechanisms. Some are word generators than randomly form phrases à la poetry machines. Others vaguely resemble household objects, but more like scientific models of such, design to test obscure theories about how they conspire against us. Perhaps I'm paranoid, but Andison's blank forms – like her monstrous mobile of wooden hangers – possess a coldness of affect that makes me uncomfortable... in the nicest possible way.
Across the courtyard at Christopher Cutts, Christy Langer hangs a more inviting array from the ceiling: a swarm of paper cut-out snowflake/airplanes that swoops down to the floor. I'd love to see the same massing made from her porcelain versions of the same. Her burgeoning language of flight holds promise for exhibitions to come.
General Hardware Contemporary: http://generalhardware.ca/
Jinny Yu: Non-Painting Painting continues until November 10.
Olga Korper Gallery: http://www.olgakorpergallery.com/
Lois Andison: Solving Man Ray's Obstruction and Other Stories continues until October 30.
Christopher Cutts Gallery: http://www.cuttsgallery.com/
Christy Langer: Diminishing continues until November 3.
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, Azure, and The Globe and Mail. He is the editor of Akimblog. You can follow his quickie reviews and art news announcements on Twitter @TerenceDick.
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