Dan Adler

  • picks March 20, 2007

    Johannes Zits

    Johannes Zits’s new exhibition, entitled “Digital Twist: New Works on Nakedness,” features two series of photo-based works and a video (all 2007) that explore the subject of public nudity. The highlight of the show is a group of digital prints that combine found images of naked people with abstract motifs flatly rendered in pure colors. Derived from the Internet, the photographs convey widely differing motivations for shedding clothes. In Confrontation, a man taunts police in riot gear; here nudity functions to enhance an activist’s outrage. The cause of exhibitionistic thrills appears to inspire

  • picks March 19, 2007

    Zin Taylor

    “Who Named the Days?,” Zin Taylor’s first solo show at this gallery, features a single-channel video, a painted wooden sculpture, and a series of six graphite drawings called “Growth on a Form” (all works 2007). Each of the drawings depicts a central pedestal-like motif—seemingly constructed from found wood fragments—accompanied by crosshatched spherical forms with indefinite contours that suggest fluffy hair, dirt, dust bunnies, wool, or generalized filth. Given the severe lack of other imagery—or chromatic diversity—in these delicately rendered works, one is at times startled by their metaphoric

  • “We Can Do This Now”

    Toronto’s art scene is diffuse and diverse, resistant to rigid codification in terms of tendencies or movements. Such diffusion might suggest a disagreeable lack of cohesion or focus, but this recent exhibition demonstrated otherwise. Gregory Burke, director of the nonprofit Power Plant, and Helena Reckitt, senior curator of programs, mounted a heterogeneous array of work by twelve artists based in the city, designing a display in which minimal interpretive guidance (in the form of brief wall texts) placed the onus on the viewer to speculate on what “Toronto” is or could become.

    Native Torontonian

  • Adrienne Spier

    Adrienne Spier’s sculptural installation Unwanted, Broken and Useless, 2006, the single work that constituted the whole of her recent show, seems at first glance to be merely a spare assortment of old furniture, albeit one that appears to have been deliberately arranged for some elusive purpose. An orderly row of four damaged wooden modernist chairs stand to the left side of the gallery. One has a missing seat; all have stained upholstery. But such details of ordinary wear and tear pale into insignificance given that the furniture has undergone radical surgery, having been dismembered and

  • Luanne Martineau

    Glancing from afar at two of Luanne Martineau’s vibrantly colored and compact fiber reliefs, one might be tempted to dismiss them as sentimental or simplistic throwbacks to the craft-based feminist practice of the 1970s. But perusal of this pair of works, made of wool yarn and felt, reveals a wide array of painterly and corporeal references combined with a striking formal and textural complexity. Portrait (all works 2006), for example, has a felted underlayer—which registers as a handworked relative of the machine-stitched unprimed canvas—that is combined with delicate, sweeping overlays

  • Roy Arden

    The pleasures of viewing Roy Arden’s recent photographs and videos often lies in speculating about how such simple, even banal, images manage to resonate so intensely. Take Overpass, 2005, for example, a shot of an empty makeshift home—located beneath the highway of the title—constructed from flattened cardboard boxes and a concoction of refuse that includes, one somehow can’t help noticing, a pizza box, fecal brown splatters, shredded clothes, and some decomposing bread rolls.

    The temptation to itemize persists with a pair of street-scene photographs from 2005. The title of one, Versace, refers