Dan Adler

  • Lorna Bauer

    Humble and spare, yet offering surprising nuance, the video Four Glasses (all works 2010) is a typical Lorna Bauer production. It begins with a view of four wineglasses on a weathered plank, precisely lit so as to be surrounded by total darkness. Almost ecclesiastically poised, these vessels anticipate a narrative incident that eventually happens: The glasses—all four at once—explode, providing the only sound and the only motion of the ninety-second work. The action barely lasts a moment but effectively sparks a full spectrum of associations, from technical experiment (were the glasses rigged

  • View of “Renée Green: Endless Dreams and Time-Based Streams,” 2010, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco.

    Renée Green

    EARLY ON IN RENÉE GREEN’S WORK Wavelinks: A Different Reality, 2002, the artist Arthur Jafa is on camera, musing animatedly about his efforts to connect with the past, to establish a “felt relationship to something that has been done prior to your existence in the world.” Soon after, a man is hazily seen through a window, changing filthy filters for the air-conditioning unit of an office building. This mundane maintenance is accompanied by an audio track: two unseen conversants voicing their disbelief about the severe buildup of waste on the filters. What might seem like casual chatter may also

  • Hadley + Maxwell

    The gallery’s windows were covered with paper. But this was an artwork, not a signal that installation was in progress. Consisting of long, loosely applied strips of wallpaper—each with a distinct pattern of stripes, tree branches, or flowers—Returns Blind, 2010, may be read either as wrapping for retail items or as a signifier of the gallery worker’s labor. Like much of Hadley + Maxwell’s collaborative practice, this clever, Conceptualist gesture playfully resists being packaged as a discrete and marketable commodity.

    For The Jury, Like the Chorus, Draws Its Voice from the Thickness of the Air

  • Krista Buecking

    HURT ME NOW GET IT OVER; TOMORROW WILL BE TOO LATE; THERE GOES MY EVERYTHING: Such is the sad language of classic ballads that Krista Buecking employs, with characteristic Conceptualist rigor, in the drawing series “Love Songs for a Future Generation” (all works 2009). Rendered in tiny strokes of graphite, each statement appears sideways in vertical columns of italicized block letters and is paired with a pencil drawing of a battered piece of brick. Scanning each coupling slowly, one reaps rich rewards from the friction between these fragmentary bits of stone and syntax—forms that compete with

  • Micah Lexier

    Micah Lexier’s recent exhibition, “→ (the title is an arrow),” started from the most minimal means—an arrow—and explored the semiotics of marks, symbols, and words. The majority of Lexier’s directional signs are derived from a single scrawl, which was digitally enlarged—hence emphasizing its handmade irregularities—and serially fabricated from stamped and painted water-jet-cut aluminum. The impressive 12-Foot White Arrow (all works 2009), installed on the gallery’s facade, pointed at the entryway with an exaggerated denotative emphasis that would ensure distant recognition, perhaps by satellites,

  • Andrew Reyes

    At first, Andrew Reyes’s exhibition “Cryptique” presented itself as an obstacle. An enormous X straddled the interior of the gallery, a sculpture titled Body Bilder (all works 2009), that seemed to cross out the artist’s previous oeuvre, which has been predominantly pictorial and engaged explicitly with consumer culture. But this indicator of error soon became a sign of potential—recalling the X-that-marks-the-spot on a treasure map or a positive act of signatory acceptance—once one realized that the X was in fact not a barrier, but a pair of crisscrossing diagonal trusses, one in front of the

  • Michelle Gay

    “Interfaces and Operating Systems,” the title of this exhibition—a survey of recent work by Michelle Gay, elegantly arranged by curator Marnie Fleming—may at first seem a reference to the digital technology present in most of the pieces. But such a coldly literal interpretation actually misses the point. The subject of a work like timer (swat), 2004, for example, is not computers, per se, but how we modern subjects interface with the world—the cultural systems by means of which we operate. A surprisingly intimate piece, the work features a collage-like digitally animated image of the artist

  • Ian Carr-Harris, ‘église’ (figure) (‘church’ [figure]), 2009, paint, wood, Plexiglas, books, tables, dimensions variable. From the series “Paradigm,” 2002–.
    picks April 01, 2009

    Ian Carr-Harris

    A model of a church is displayed on a table in the gallery. Part of a work titled ‘église’ (figure) (‘church’ [figure]), 2009, this carefully crafted wooden object—the latest installment in Ian Carr-Harris’s ongoing “Paradigm” series of architectural replicas—performs a dutiful nod to professional standards of model-making, with glistening and evenly applied black-painted surfaces, clerestory windows, and a steeple that all may faithfully refer to a specific source (possibly of Francophone origin, given the title). But such thoughts are felt in tension with ambiguous details such as circular

  • Iris Häussler

    Iris Häussler’s installation He Named Her Amber, 2007–2009—an ongoing project at the Art Gallery of Ontario—is an ingenious deception. Visitors are under the impression that they are simply taking a guided “archaeological” tour of the Grange, Toronto’s oldest mansion (built in 1815) and the first home of the AGO’s collection; a glass doorway connects the Grange to the adjacent, newly renovated museum building. The tour guide spins an elaborate tale about a young Irish servant from Kilkenny, Mary O’Shea, who resided there and developed the curious habit of making objects out of beeswax and hiding

  •  Adam David Brown, Silence, 2009, Pink Pearl eraser, dimensions variable.
    picks February 21, 2009

    Adam David Brown

    One of Adam David Brown’s achievements lies in his consistent ability to explore the expressive potential of highly reductive imagery. This exhibition features two colors—pink and white—and just a few shapes and letters. On entering the gallery, one is confronted by a mural-size drawing, Silence (all works 2009) that depicts the letters SHHHH. It is composed of Pink Pearl eraser applied arduously and directly to the wall using hundreds of diagonal strokes. The composition creates a palpable tension between a strongly evident labor process and an ephemeral medium that is conventionally used to

  • James Carl

    While a long-awaited midcareer survey of James Carl’s work was being held at three other Ontario venues this winter, the Diaz Contemporary show modestly offered five of the artist’s sculptures, all from a series titled “jalousie,” 2006– , a term used in France and Germany to designate venetian blinds (and, in the former, jealousy). In a manner reminiscent of chair caning or basket weaving, Carl arduously plaits metal slats from these window treatments into elegant biomorphic shapes.

    The artist’s painstaking process of testing his material’s tensile limits is especially evident in jalousie (

  • View of Scott Lyall, “The Color Ball,” 2008, Power Plant, Toronto.

    Scott Lyall

    “THE COLOR BALL”—Scott Lyall’s most ambitious exhibition to date—might be seen as a culminating event for a young conceptualist whose oeuvre has been increasingly recognized for its formally sophisticated resistance to the workings of the culture industry. Curated by the Power Plant’s director, Gregory Burke, the show took the form of a single installation resembling an entertainment venue or stage set, seen before a performance or a fete of some kind. This condition of anticipation lent a feeling of temporal displacement to a display that did not contain “finished” products. Rotating