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Toronto
Terence Dick
Art Spin 2014 | Jennifer Rose Sciarrino at Daniel Faria
July 03, 2014

Wandering amongst the mostly young, mostly new to me folks at the opening to last weekend's annual Art Spin exhibition, I eventually ran into an old acquaintance from the times when we were young and mostly new. So I asked, "What's new?" And he astutely replied, "Everything is new and nothing is new." That was as good a review of the night as any.



Karen Abel, Geogarden (a subterranean symphony in C), 2013, salvaged violin and viola cases, alum crystals, cotton velvet

The Art Spin folk have done an excellent job of once again finding an out-of-the-way, abandoned warehouse to temporarily occupy with an assortment of local art that runs the gamut from painting on polycarbonate to video projections to large scale installations. Last year it was a far more damaged space on Sterling Road; this year it is farther out in the Junction, but neat enough that it could be put to use as a hip furniture store (or a large gallery!) with only a bit of plaster. The entire exhibition (and associated promotional material and bike tour) was exceptionally well organized. This combination of guerilla tactics and professionalism had me pining for the old days of one-off exhibitions in unused buildings that are now too expensive even for commercial galleries at the same time I was admiring the ambition on view while also wondering what happened to the wildness and disorder of the rogue artistic spirit. I could have done with a little more of the latter and a little less of too familiar works that indicated a lack of knowledge about what came a couple generations before (though that makes me sound like even more of a grumpy old man). The strongest works in this type of show go big and grab your attention. It's the perfect opportunity to exercise the spectacular spirit in an artist's practice. Adam David Brown hit the nail on the head with his funhouse Op-Art video projection and Marian Wihak backed him up with an interactive platform with mirrored floors and gurgling water. Heather Nicol's twisting, twirling parachute and Ed Pien's rain of patterned ropes also played the haptic card. And Noel Middleton's bizarre fountain seemed right at home amongst the bare brick walls and raw wires. When you only have a couple days to make your mark, you have to make the most of the opportunity. That's the only way to be remembered when today's new gets old.



Jennifer Rose Sciarrino, Patterned Recognition (Rubber), 2014, inkjet printed nylon, CNC plaster, table

A room full of objects laid out on a grid of white tables inevitably leads one to think about morgues. Mike Kelley figured this out with his rag doll displays and Jennifer Rose Sciarrano does it with the added touch of funereal shrouds in her current exhibition at Daniel Faria Gallery. The twist is that her inert objects are in the process of becoming rather than having been. Held taunt beneath diaphanous fabric are a collection of obscured sculptures that push out against the fabric as if emerging from the depths. Since the tables are so low, you have to look down on them and then crouch to figure out the where the thing, the covering, and the table's surface contact and overlap. The hidden things are objects in transition, slowly being formed, but not quite there yet. At this stage they resemble fabrications of potentially modernist objects like balls, rods, and arcs. The shrouds are also imitations of actual substances – replicating the look of concrete, rubber, or steel, for example – which only add to a sense of simulation, of a world that is not quite real. Some of the patterns delve further than others into trompe l'oeil effects, but I prefer the ambiguous, blurry shapes under the equally indistinct patterns. Discerning their identities is like figuring out the function of a fossil. These future artifacts might not be much to look at, but they are plenty to ponder.


Art Spin: http://www.artspin.ca/

Daniel Faria Gallery: http://danielfariagallery.com/
Jennifer Rose Sciarrino: Patterned Recognition continues until July 19.


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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