Critics’ Picks

White Pearl Sunshine Summoning Charm, 2007, still from a color video, 7 minutes.

White Pearl Sunshine Summoning Charm, 2007, still from a color video, 7 minutes.

Toronto

Zin Taylor

Jessica Bradley Art + Projects
1450 Dundas Street West
March 10–April 7, 2007

“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 and semantic complexity. In one image, the central wooden form resembles a post on which mud—or perhaps a more abject substance—has been wiped; in another, it is reminiscent of a gallows. Elsewhere, the structures serve a relatively artistic function, appearing to serve as backdrop or display surface. Another spherical image—of a large white ball—is featured in the video; it lies partially submerged in water within a wooded setting that may be a swamp or merely a puddle. This work, White Pearl Sunshine Summoning Charm, includes shots of the surrounding foliage basking in sunlight, the ball itself drifting slowly between trees, and abstract close-ups of its battered surface. The casual and idyllic charm of such imagery is complicated by an audio track of breathing and drumming—the incantation implied by the work’s title—that slowly builds in volume and intensity to include groaning and high-pitched moaning. This component encourages one to interpret the “pearl” within the ritualized context of a tribal culture, perhaps one with supernatural properties. Taylor shows here an impressive and consistent ability—in multiple media—to represent humble, found, and abstract objects in remarkably complex and resonant ways.