Critics’ Picks

Anne Low, Dust bed, 2018, handwoven silk, cotton, 52 x 16 x 16".

Toronto

Anne Low

Franz Kaka
87 Wade Ave Unit B1 (basement)
May 3–May 25

Anne Low’s exhibition at Franz Kaka, a basement-level gallery, is sparse and winsome. At once obliging and testing the parameters of a subterranean space, her works—which include a maple-and-basswood chair with carved zoomorphic details (Chair for a woman, 2018); a handwoven rolled mattress (Dust bed, 2018); and a car tire shrouded in hand-dyed, handwoven pink silk (Tire bag, 2019)—feel half-forgotten, as if they were left behind in a storage unit.

The title of Low’s show, “Bletting,” describes the process whereby fruit softens, ripens, and eventually rots, which aptly summarizes the atmosphere inside, where objects languish in a kind of purgatory, slumped in a corner, draped on the floor, or suspended high on walls. The titular framework also suggests that Low is interested in how objects perform and mature when undisturbed by human contact. Still, many of her works mime man-made utilitarian objects: Chair is un-upholstered, with stunted proportions and clawlike embellishments; Dust bed’s detailed woven covering slightly differentiates it from blobby synthetic futons; and the luminous pink sachet of Tire bag does not entirely conceal the rubber wheel within. And while some of the newer works are indeed ripening—being shown for the first time—the remaining objects are growing into new identities altogether. Chair, for example, previously displayed on a plinth at Vancouver’s Contemporary Art Gallery, is newly hung with handwoven, cream-colored ropes made of dimity. The subtle humor and peculiar details of Low’s carvings, print, and textiles work together to uncannily distance her pieces from the associated objects viewers might know from repeated use.