Saturday, April 24, 2010

401 Richmond Reviews: Monica Tap, Stephanie Cormier, Wendelien van Oldenborg

Today in my National Post At the Galleries column, I focus on three shows at 401 Richmond (the rooftop garden is such a nice escape there at this time of year...) Here's an excerpt:

Monica Tap at Wynick/Tuck Gallery, Suite 128

Monica Tap is known for paintings that translate blurred, split-second, speeding-train-window scenes into large, carefully produced canvases. Her new paintings continue to work on fleeting glimpses, but use vibrant colours and longer timespans. Polka is particularly eye-catching, using bright yellows, oranges and whites to depict a landscape that Tap might previously have rendered in brown, green and grey. Between Summer and Winter uses seasons, rather than seconds, as a frame; its pinks recall sunsets cast on snowbanks, while yellows conjure sunrises on leafy branches. While the complexity of these canvases is often pleasing, there are awkward bits -- boundaries that seem sharper than they should be, for instance. Nonetheless, Tap's delight in colour and paint shines through, as well as her desire to record time's speeding nature. This latter sense is heightened by the showing, in an adjoining room, of monochromatic works by the late painter Gerald Ferguson. (Tap studied under Ferguson.) This side-by-side presence evokes creative lineages and generational eras, while also reminding us of the sometimes bright, sometimes dark remnants that mark our rapid passage through this world. To May 1.

On a related note, I really enjoyed Monica Tap's remembrance of Ferguson that she wrote for the Winter issue of C Magazine. Also, after I sent the review in, I got notice from the gallery that there will be a panel on Gerald Ferguson at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery in Oshawa on Saturday May 29. Tap will present along with Kelly Mark, Peter Dykhuis and Sue Gibson Garvey.

Image of Monica Tap's Polka from Wynick/Tuck Gallery

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