Lisa Gabrielle Mark

  • Max Dean

    Since the ’70s, Max Dean’s interactive installations have solicited the active participation of viewers, calling on them to perform (or refrain from performing) particular actions that will determine the outcome of a changing work. Those who take part assume a level of responsibility for how the piece plays out; for example, in As Yet Untitled, 1992–95, viewers could temporarily stop a robot from shredding old photographs. Dean’s recent installation, Sneeze, 2000, continued in this vein but thwarted the viewer’s control once it had been established.

    Sneeze bears all of Dean’s trademarks: cutting-edge

  • “Intercourse”

    “SEX. Now that I’ve got your attention . . . ” Like the sales pitch that begins with that jokey advertising ploy, this exhibition, titled “Intercourse, ” didn’t have much to do with sex. In her statement for the show, curator Eileen Sommerman writes that the word “intercourse” denotes “communication or dealings between or among people, countries, etc.; interchange of products, services, ideas, feelings, etc.” This is broad territory for such a modest show, and the three works don’t really seem to fit into this formulation. But Sommerman’s strengths as a curator have less to do with exposition

  • Roland Brener

    Entering the massive steel doors of the gallery to see Roland Brener’s recent exhibition, I felt a bit like Alice falling down the rabbit hole. On the floor, a few feet beyond the entrance, lay the spectacular, schematized head of a wolf biting the nose on a similarly oversize cat’s head. Carved and hollowed from two huge blocks of laminated plywood, the figures in Wolf and Cat, 1999, look like monochromatic cartoon characters, their faces marked by horizontal cathodelike striations. At the opposite end of the cavernous space, a chubbily misshapen and slightly sinister-looking businessman, made

  • Alan Belcher

    Alan Belcher’s recent show “Private•Language” was a testament to the generative possibilities of hybridity, both cross-cultural and aesthetic. Produced after a residency in Japan last year, much of the work features Belcher’s translations of various writings (the sources of which include Darwin, Napoleon, Diana Vreeland, and the artist himself) into his own highly individuated Japanese calligraphic script. Series such as the “Diary flags”—white twill banners (perhaps meant to recall the Edo flag) bearing Japanese glosses of excerpts from Belcher’s journal—fuse his personal meditations with forms

  • “Realities”

    The prologue to “Realities” comes in the form of a 1929 series of black-and-white photographs by André Kertész, entitled “Distorted Portraits of Carlo Rim,” in which the photographer’s old friend stands before several funhouse mirrors watching his reflection absurdly taper and swell, with Kertész himself visible in the background, The series provides an apt metaphor for curator-collector Ydessa Hendeles’s most recent exhibition, a tidy and unapologetically impassioned selection of works spanning the nineteenth century to the present, which, like a distorting mirror, offers a view of realities,

  • Howard Ursuliak

    Howard Ursuliak is an impeccable technician, having worked for a number of years as a printer for Jeff Wall, and his images are visibly connected to that of Canadian West Coast Conceptual photographers of an earlier generation, like Wall, Ken Lum, Ian Wallace, and Roy Arden. The two series on view in his recent show, “Property Relations/Market,” were characterized by a gaze that is as sympathetic as it is critically rigorous. With these works, Ursuliak resists simply adopting a disinterested critical stance in relation to capitalist consumption but chooses instead to examine his uneasy place

  • Kelly Mark

    At the entrance to the gallery where Kelly Mark’s recent works were on display, a video monitor showed the artist keeping watch, her gaze fixed approximately at eye level. She stares blankly for the most part, almost as if mimicking you staring at her. Her eyes sometimes become glassy with the strain of focusing for a sustained period. Despite her equanimity, you imagine a cinematic flickering of thoughts and memories passing over the empty screen of her gaze; then her eyes begin to flutter and roll up in her head as she fights off sleep. She regains her composure and the staring continues as

  • John Marriott

    John Marriott’s “Art that says Hello,” on view throughout Toronto this past August, was a friendlier spin on the institutional critique that has characterized his burgeoning body of work. Marriott, a lawyer-turned-artist, ascended to notoriety after participating in a 1995 group show of young Toronto artists at The Power Plant, “Beauty #2.” He was immediately offered a solo show at the same gallery, in which he presented a critique of the self-legitimizing mechanisms that art and corporate cultures use to reproduce themselves (and exclude others). You tell me your history, I’ll tell you mine

  • “Rococo Tattoo”

    Subtitled “The Ornamental Impulse in Toronto Art,” “Rococo Tattoo” presents sixteen artists and collectives spanning the last decade of artmaking in Toronto. Some works, such as John Massey’s lithograph Compound Eye, 1988–89 (in which a horrific montage of faces spreads over a human eye), have already enjoyed a healthy exhibition history, while others, like the collective Fastwürms’ spectacular installation, were created especially for the show. The decorative is a new point of entry for many of the works—and this show succeeds precisely thanks to curator Philip Monk’s almost laissez-faire

  • Robert Fones

    Robert Fones’ latest show finds him mapping out fresh territory into his investigation of the history and problematics of letterforms. The exhibition comprised two distinct sets of works: “Lathed Letterforms,” 1997, a series of sculptures derived from individual letters; and “Date Tablet Paintings,” 1997, which many visitors did not see since the paintings were hung adjacent to the main gallery space and bizarrely cordoned off with a metal bar.

    The “Date Tablet Paintings” are actual-size oil-on-linen renditions of the stone and galvanized metal date-tablets found on buildings throughout southern

  • Regan Morris

    Regan Morris greets the millennium by throwing open the shutters and letting some light in. Whereas his 1994 show, “Last Works,” drew a dusky parallel between the Gay ’90s of Tchaikovsky and Oscar Wilde and the present era, with its losses to AIDS, his recent exhibit yielded fresh possibilities from a technique Morris has used for years, and also from the transformative potential of play.

    Morris’ new work allies his unique “peeled” painting technique with a brighter palette, supplemented by a concatenation of cut-paper shapes: a pearl necklace, a burning building, a thought balloon, to name a