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Art and Drinks

Art and Drinks is an aptly named gallery-lounge hybrid borne from the imagination of Canadian composer/musician/artist John Oswald. On Dundas West at Palmerston Avenue, the lounge opened last week for a four-month stint, during which Oswald will try to gauge if popularity merits a full-time home.

In the meantime, though, the laid-back space is up and running, exhibiting art designed for staring while you sip a glass of wine.

"These are all time-based pieces," Oswald's production manager, Genevieve says, motioning towards the displays on the walls. Oswald, unfortunately, is out of town when I stop in. "You appreciate them by watching; taking in as they change."

The largest and perhaps most dramatic piece in Art and Drinks is a projected Oswald work called "Stillnessence," occupying nearly the entire west wall. Moving stills of groups of people fade in and out over time; a work that Genevieve tells me took over 10 years to shoot. "You could sit here for four hours," she says, nodding towards a blue vintage sofa, "and not see the same image twice."

The decor is minimal--some vintage furniture and an end table here and there--allowing for flow and movement throughout the space. "John wanted this to be a place to hang out, to actually be able to talk to each other. But instead of sports on the screens, we have art."

One of those screens is actually an iPad, serving as medium for Renée Lear's landscape video installation. There's also Oswald's "Frank's Last Turn" (recall the dying, turning fish that had a brief stint on a giant screen at Dundas Square?) and works by Michael Snow, David Rokeby and Bettina Hoffmann, among more to come.

The bar, like the décor, is without unnecessary adornment, and offers red and white wine by the glass ($8), the odd mixed drink including Campari and soda ($7) and bellini ($8), and Junction Brewing's Conductor's Craft Ale on tap ($5).

Food is coming in the next week or so, and while Genevieve says it will mostly consist of cheese plates and other light fare, she hints at collaboration with the The Palmerston and Provenance , even going so far as to drop the word "brunch." Art, bar, and French toast? Now that is a hybrid.


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