Friday, December 17, 2010

At the Galleries: Gift Guide Edition

Holiday shopping and gallery hopping needn’t be mutually exclusive. My latest At the Galleries column for the National Post lists three exhibitions are just steps from the mall and have in-house gift ideas handy. (None are commercial galleries either... psych!) Here's an excerpt:

Kai Chan at the Textile Museum of Canada
55 Centre Ave., to May 1
This 1975-to-2010 survey of China-born, Toronto-based artist Kai Chan is astounding — a real must-see. Though he keeps a low profile around town, Chan’s skill, sensitivity and steadiness are internationally top-rate. By precisely grouping simple materials like thread, buttons and toothpicks, Chan creates artworks that are at once elegantly minimal and heartbreakingly human. His rhythmic Mirage, stained-glass-like Link and curvy Marilyn spin major, wall-sized magic out of humble strands, piling, knotting and hanging them laboriously to spectacular effect. And Chan’s feats aren’t just for the eyes; they also offer a gentle, corporeal interactivity. (Just walk up to one of those delicate hangings and you’ll start to see it sway with your breath.) In an accompanying video, Chan, who originally studied biology and interior design, says he wants his art to reflect both the fragility of human bodies and the strength of human will. He has well achieved that solemn goal — incorporating some surprising doses of humour along the way. Need some touching prezzies? Explore the TMC shop for artisan scarves that convey the warmth of handcrafted objects.

You might also think of this column as "A Forum In Which Leah Yet Again Freaks Out About the Kai Chan Exhibition At the Textile Museum." And it occurs to me now, that, in case you didn't know, if you do an article in December, there's an 80% chance it will be (a) a year end list or (b) a gift guide. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

(Detail of Kai Chan's Mirage from the National Post)

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