Thursday, December 16, 2010

Reassured by Objects: My Top 3 Year-End Picks at

You know what I discovered in putting together my top-3 year-end picks for Canadian Art's website? It's that, the longer I work online (or with other dematerialized realms, like, well, text) the more impressed I am with work that resonates on a physical, corporeal level. Here's an excerpt from my list:

1. Shary Boyle: Flesh and Blood at the Art Gallery of Ontario
Is it just me, or has it been the year of Shary Boyle? There’s this major solo show—which feels like the most space the AGO has given to a single Canadian since its reopening—the Hnatyshyn Award, the big room at the National Gallery’s “It is What It Is,” the sold-out performances, and the mini-showcase of new ceramics at the Gardiner. Throughout, Boyle balances delightful and disturbing like nobody’s business, translating her themes with an increasing commitment to craft that conveys serious gravitas. Remarkably, Boyle even turns the problems of this AGO venue—four historical-collection rooms jammed between two wings of ancient Christian icons—to her advantage by seguing haunting historical works into the first room of her exhibition and juxtaposing her ecofeminist-tinged imagery with a classic Bernini crucifixion scene. As always, it’s an open question as to what the curator, Galerie de l’UQAM’s Louise Déry, contributed in terms of this striking installation solution. But barring a few wobbly points—like Boyle’s relative inexperience in larger-than-life sculpture—this outing showed a major domestic talent at the top of her game. Why can’t the AGO do solo shows of Ontario artists on this scale more often? And maybe even… curate them itself?

The other two are here. And worthy-of-a-read picks from other Canadian Art editorial staff are here. (Stay tuned next week when contributors from across Canada share their favourites.)

All that said, it's pretty much CanArt listmania time, no? This is something I'm happy about, as I inevitably learn about a whole lotta worthy stuff that I missed during the year. So far I've enjoyed the beginning of Sally and LM's open-call seasonal lists (Joe McKay shouted-out the original Tron! Yes!) and the Akimblog cross-country roundup. (That Akimblog link seems tricky right now, but hopefully should speed up soon...) Remember that list submissions are welcome at Sally and LM! Submit! The world needs your list passion!

(Image of Shary Boyle's White Light 2010 from Canadian Art)

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