For the past four months I've been hearing about this upcoming Projections show taking place at four different galleries within U of T's three separate campuses, predominantly because some friends of mine did the graphic design work for the show. As a small favour to them they asked that I write a review, partly because the campus galleries are rarely visited (sadly) and this was going to be quite an extensive collection of projection-based works from over the past 50 years. To be perfectly honest, I wasn't expecting much as I arrived at the rather modest U of T Art Centre Gallery. But that would all quickly change.

Though I only had the means to visit the JMB Gallery and the U of T Art Centre, it did not take long to stumble upon some exciting and imaginative pieces that rendered me quite speechless. Of course it must be said that I am already a fan of projection as a medium for art and design, but regardless, most of this collection is truly approachable, even for someone newly exposed to the artform. Pieces have been collected and compiled from the early 60's on to the present, creating a sort of interactive history of projection art as it's evolved throughout the decades.

Included in the collection are infamous pieces such as Krzysztof Wodiczko's Projections, in which the artist projected large-scale video images of parts of the human body onto key structures in a given city's urban fabric. These offerings are then contrasted with more contemporary installations, such as Kelly Mark's Commercial Space that involves piled televisions sets, as well as David Hoffos' Scenes from the House Dream: Bachelor's Bluff, in which he fully displays the seemingly clumsy mechanics of the projected creation as the initial piece, then invites you to engage closer with the miniature visual diorama he creates using these exposed mechanisms. The latter piece is truly a favorite of mine and constantly amazes me no matter how many times I see it.

After seeing the work at the Toronto campus galleries, I hope I'll have time to make a trip down to the other two in Scaraborough and Mississauga. Either way, I'd definitely recommend checking out at least one of the collections over the next month. Truly a pleasure.

Projections runs April 8 - June 17, 2007 at four U of T galleries: Doris McCarthy Gallery, Blackwood Gallery, Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, and University of Toronto Art Centre. See website for more details.

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