There are two things I require as a critic when I view art: anonymity and an absence of distraction. Anything less than the former and I risk having my evaluation influenced by my desire to be liked. Any instance of the latter and I lose concentration, forget my purpose, and fall astray. The worst – because it is the most tempting – of these distractions is other people. They are also an obstacle for my secret identity, which in any other situation I'd be more than happy to give up because I am – truth be told – quite the gregarious guy (or, at least, a wannabe).
These thoughts came up this past weekend when I delayed my usual Saturday afternoon jaunt so as to avoid the annual Gallery Hop, which I otherwise would have enjoyed (and which I've participated in in the past), but, after a couple straight weekends of running in and running aground in gallery events, I have become wary of.
Kelly Jazvac with Patricia Corcoran, Plastiglomerate and Plastic Samples, 2013
As a back-up plan, I had a leisurely Sunday in Oakville scheduled, away from the hustle and bustle of Toronto and its ubiquitous weekend road closures and impenetrable traffic, until I realized I'd be running alongside the opening weekend bus tour of downtown art lovers searching out the increasingly unavoidable excellent exhibition in smaller centres around southern Ontario. The Oakville Galleries have long been the leader in this regard and their current shows only serve to reinforce that position.
The Gairloch Gardens location features a survey of Kelly Jazvac's work that sacrifices coherence for breadth. A small selection of her signature vinyl works (that when massed together as they were in her recent Diaz Contemporary show acquire some powerful aesthetic heft by playing crafty games with form and material) offset by two less than necessary short videos and a wallpaper installation that means well but stumbles.
That said, any misgivings are resolved with two more strong works from her in the whip smart group show on the theme of representational surface at Oakville's Centennial Square location. Curated by Jacob Korczynski, Surface Tension brings together a handful of clever installation by an eye-opening bunch of international artists who rub up against each other to even greater effect. The projections in works by Mark Soo, Matthew Buckingham, Youngmi Chun, and Sreshta Rit Premnath each demonstrate unique but complementary variations on light and image, while one of Jazvac's pieces was created specifically to resonate with Soo's streetlights. The collected experience engages me so much, I can't wait to tell someone about it. Unfortunately, no one is around.
Oakville Galleries: http://oakvillegalleries.com/
Kelly Jazvac & Surface Tension continue until November 17.
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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Posted by Terence Dick, on 2013-09-19 11:56:03Correction: I just clued into the fact that the Gallery Hop is this Saturday, not last Saturday. My bad.