Saturday, January 30, 2010

Three Reviews in Bloor-Lansdowne

My end-of-the-month gallery stroll -- out in the Post today -- took me to the Bloor-Lansdowne area, a nabe where a new businesses seem to be changing the streetscape on an increasing basis. Here's an excerpt:

Days of the Eclipse/50 Light Fixtures from Home Depot
Mercer Union, 1286 Bloor St. W.

An eclipse -- at least one of the non-Twilight-series kind--offers a strange state during which light and dark coexist, as well as a sense of suspended time and cosmic awareness. So it makes sense that the works in Days of the Eclipse, Mercer's current group show, riff on these eerie feelings -- albeit with an emphasis more on bleak darkness than awe-filled light. It's a particularly Januaryish show that way, with the promise of beginning weighed down by anxiety and regret (post-holiday credit-card statements, anyone?). Best in show is L.A. artist Marie Jager's Past/Present/Future, a wall piece that overlaps its titular words to form a laser-cut mirror. This artwork reflects the difficulty of teasing apart the three temporal states, and suggests that the place where these difficult time-planets meet is, perhaps, one's own, unremarkable, very human body. Jager's Pollution Paintings are also interesting. Made of diesel oil, they look like exploding planets and seem at first to deliver a simple environmental-anxiety message. But they change when one learns (from the exhibition brochure) that Jager makes her paintings by holding canvases up to an auto's exhaust pipe at the moment of ignition. Overall, the show --complemented in the back gallery by Christian Giroux and Daniel Young's stripped-down film 50 Light Fixtures from Home Depot -- takes a scientific, clinical approach to big problems of the soul. And though that kind of withdrawn weariness suits the season, this exhibit could use a little more feeling to balance its philosophy. To March 6.

Image of Marie Jager's Past Present Future from her website

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