Friday, September 11, 2009

Two Thumbs Up: Lisa Steele, Kim Tomczak & Kelly Mark @ Diaz Contemporary

Why don't art reviewers make as good use of thumb-quality-measurements and TV-series-style chatter as movie reviewers do?

That's a question for a another post, I s'pose.

But in the meantime I'm going to give two thumbs way up to Lisa Steele, Kim Tomczak & Kelly Mark's current shows at Diaz Contemporary.

As I note in my review in the current issue of NOW, Steele & Tomczak quite effectively provide a glimpse into the backpackless emotional baggage that many high-school students have toted off to class this semester. Fears of parents dying, of being a failure, of not getting a good job are imprinted over pics of the teens, making me reevaluate the (sadly curmudgeon-styled) thoughts of "what is it with kids these days?" that tend to crop up in my greying-of-hair, crowfeeting-of-eye inner reflections of late. I hope it provides the same cautionary about-take for others.

At the same time, Steele and Tomczak's works also reflect some of that weird harshness of high school life, with most of the text about "funniest thing I ever saw" for these kids involving friends tripping, falling, or pretending to die.

The duo also provides a couple of images of an office building, and what seems to be the answers of a couple of "adults" overlaid. Also revealing and interesting.

Kelly Mark, as expected, provides very funny and smart works. (A brief aside: Mark showing at Diaz is itself a bit of news; for many years she's shown at Wynick/Tuck. Now Diaz will be her Toronto dealer.) Again, as noted in the review, Mark uses text in a particularly charming way, building it up only to have it absurdly fall apart. Her six-foot neon sign reading “Nothing is so important that it needs to be made in six foot high neon” is one example of this. A circular sign reading, “It’s just one god damn thing after another” also fits.

To me, the most unexpected Mark works were her Letraset drawings, which aesthetically look quite different from her other works. In these drawings, Mark uses what seems to be the entire materials of one Letraset package to create abstractions, sometimes what could even be thought of as a text mandala of sorts. The more visually abstract quality of these works places them at quite a distance from other Mark works, which play more on narrative (or at least the promise of a narrative) than on form.

Do make sure to "see this one while it's in theatres. It ain't no rental."

Image of Kelly Mark's It's Just One God Damn Thing After Another from NOW Toronto

No comments: