Bruno Brillio

Art Agenda: Bruno Billio at at DeLuca Fine Art, Stephen Appleby-Barr at Nicholas Metivier, Ronald Boaks at the Moore Gallery

This installment of the Art Agenda features two younger artists and one that's more established, all with radically different styles.


This week:

  • "Stacked" Bruno Billio in Retrospect at at DeLuca Fine Art
    • Stephen Appleby-Barr at Nicholas Metivier
      • Ronald Boaks at The Moore Gallery
    • 20110316-ArtAgenda-billio-deluca2.jpg

      Bruno Billio at DeLuca Fine art from March 10-April 10.

      Bruno Billio has made a name for himself around the city for his interior design works and installation practices. These two aspects of his career tend to co-mingle. Found objects are simplified by vibrant or matte monochromes and held in vitrines or on mirror paneled platforms, stacked up. The show trades heavily on his work at the Gladstone, with a bottle of 'Pure Art' water poured from its taps. It's kind of a Piero Manzoni gag, much like the jeweled anuses that can be found on the yellow rhinos that flank one wall of his show at De Luca Fine Art. It's full of humour and a giddy leaping between notions of scale. But it's the constant production of fake depths thanks to his use of mirrors that really rules the day. The presence of some not-so-luxurious items in spaces with deceptive recessions could have been a joke about the economic situation, conscious or not. Maybe that's why Belinda Stronach seemed a little put off by the whole thing when she brushed by me on her way out.

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      Stephen Appleby-Barr at Nicholas Metivier from March 10-April 2.

      Stephen Appleby-Barr is probably best known as a member of the city's comic art troupe Team Macho. He is now having his first solo show at Nicholas Metivier. Rather than the usual crowd of hipsters I encounter when seeing any work by the Team, the galley seemed to be full of old women with malfunctioning hearing aids. One jokingly said that the strangeness of his paintings was causing it. The paintings in his new show display the odd characters from a personal mythology which have become synonymous with his work. Based mostly on old daguerreotypes, he replaces human heads with animals when he isn't tying masks over the figures' eyes. This time around, the brush work of his oil on linen pieces is more accomplished, the backgrounds richer, full of lustre and a soft textural richness. His scope of references has also expanded with a few surprise dabs of Impressionism here and there. The subtly erotic "The Traditional Pit," a relatively large painting of a group of masked and kilted men stands out.

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      Ronald Boaks at the Moore Galley from March 12 - April 2, 2011.

      I stumbled into a rather nice showing of the abstract paintings of Ronald Boaks at the Moore Gallery. Taken from the last decade or so, they show him working in that vein of abstraction that seems more or less unique to Toronto. Large swaths of paint take precedence at the centre, with big blocks of colour offset by elongated garish blocks to the side. Naked swirls crown the top. While most of the works follow this method, a few break from it with some startling results, relishing in dense waves of delicately articulated waves of paint.

      Also this week:

      Dan Bazuin has a new show of his digital art work opening up at Propeller, Tim Zuck's show of prints ends its run at Barbara Edwards Contemporary and Meryl McMaster has an intriguing photo show running at Leo Kamen until Saturday.

      Images courtesy of Bruno Billio, Nicholas Metivier and the Moore Gallery.


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