Friday, July 31, 2009

Recommended: Steve Power, Barbara Hobot, Sarah Millman

Did a bunch of gallery hopping this afternoon. Besides the newly emptied sidewalk garbage bins (yay end of city strike) I enjoyed a few other highlights:

1) Steve Powers at Show & Tell Gallery - Basically, the piece above, "My Other Ride is Vegan" totally made me crack up. "Negotiation is My Religion" in the gallery window is also great. Then I realized looking at his bio that it was Powers who did the Coney Island Waterboarding Thrill Ride last year in NYC. Nice diversity and directness. Also enjoyed co-exhibitor Greg LaMarche's collages of zeros an o's. They reminded me of Kristiina Lahde's zero collages, which, if LaMarche's stuff grabs you, you should totally check out.

2) Barbara Hobot at Peak Gallery - Hobot's leather-and-gold-chain disco ball, called Dyskoteka, caught my eye at Peak's summer group show. Her trio of mystic hoodies was not as strong, but still interesting. Would be great to see more of her work in Toronto.

3) Sarah Gregg Millman @ Mercer Union - Millman's videos, seem to be, in some ways, of women on the verge of a nervous hipster breakdown. And I mean that in a good way. There's a kind of dealing in this work with classic-but-still-contemporary stuff around differences between how one is perceived as a woman--maybe as a waitress, as single, as lower-class, as nothing but an "energetic, outgoing, team player" with nice fingernails--and how one wants to be perceived--perhaps, as one of Millman's titles suggests, someone as revolutionary and brash in attitude as Kanye West. Or someone bearing the magic and preciousness and potential privilege of pregnancy. Or someone who thrashes in the dark seas fearlessly at night before returning to serve french toast to an unsuspecting husband and kids. It's some very human stuff.

Mercer U. co-exhibitor Johanna Billing's video, This is How We Walk on the Moon, is more gentle and understated. But if you can give it some time to wash over you, it is also effective, dealing with how we learn and relearn the things we need to know--in this case, showcasing a group of Scottish musicians, who often sing about the sea but have rarely been on it, as they learn to sail. Both interesting shows on change, whether longed for or unexpected.

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