Saturday, June 5, 2010

Reviews: Libby Hague, Rochelle Rubinstein, John Oswald, Mechanical Bride

I've got some west-end reviews out in today's National Post, including Libby Hague and Rochelle Rubinstein at Loop, John Oswald at Edward Day, and Mechanical Bride at MOCCA. An excerpt:

Libby Hague and Rochelle Rubinstein at Loop
1273 Dundas St. W.; to June 13

Luscious material processes and playful creative experiments highlight this two-person show. Hague's installation Sui Generis has a kindergarten feel, with pipe cleaners, curled paper and plaster blobs tapping into childhood delight. Though I'm disappointed Sui isn't larger, I enjoy it as tongue-in-cheek primordial marsh from which so-called "higher art" evolves. Its sugary naivete is balanced by more sophisticated Hague works, like abstract paintings whose lines reach off the canvas, yearning to be something more than theoretical, serious or wall-bound -- to be actual rather than just visual. In another imaginative inversion, Hague turns a plain, overlooked corner into a colourful grid of paper strips. In contrast, Rubenstein's works use richer materials -- embroidered and printed silk, washi paper and carved wood--and more elegant, minimal forms such as columns and grids. Nonetheless, Rubenstein's monumental groupings retain a raw, tactile, human quality, with stitching done by hand and some threads hanging loose. Her prints mimic stone walls and steel bars, symbols of limitation and security that Rubenstein handily marries to a looser aesthetic freedom. For the run of the Loop show, the artists also offer a 24-hour display at Mon Ton Window (502 College St.). Though this latter collaboration seems a bit piecemeal, it does offer a nice drawing/ print of a realistically cluttered artist's studio. In the end, both exhibitions highlight what's often missing from galleries, and even visual culture at large -- the productive messiness of studio spaces, rooms that can be cozy and expansive all at once.

Image of Libby Hague's work from Loop.


Anonymous said...

I often love Libby Hague's printmaking installations, and I enjoyed this one, but those were literally the worst paintings I've ever seen. Pipe cleaners? seriously? Just awful

Anonymous said...

I think Rochelle is one of the most under appreciated artists in Toronto. She never ceases to surprise me whenever I see her work. It is deeply meaningful in a time of increasingly shallow work.