Art Reviews Toronto

Art Agenda: Nobuaki Onishi at Georgia Scherman, Marla Hlady at Jessica Bradley and James Gardner at LE Gallery

After a three week hiatus, I am back with a few quick peeks at some of what is going on in galleries around town. Things get a little sculpture-centric this time around with a look at three unique approaches to creating objects.

This week:

  • Nobuaki Onishi at Georgia Scherman Projects
    • "Set To Set" by Marla Hlady at Jessica Bradley Art + Projects
      • "Paintings in a Room" by James Gardner at LE Gallery
    • Nobuaki Onishi at Georgia Scherman Projects from February 10-March 12

      Art Shows Toronto

      When you walk into the main gallery space of Georgia Scherman, you could be forgiven for superficially just seeing a set of random objects sitting there. There's a shoe, an antler, a branch, a jaw bone... However, there's nothing random about the intricately detailed and delicate work of Nobuaki Onishi. His resin based sculptures are exercises in obsessive verisimilitude. They render things so realistic that they are almost impossible to tell from the real thing. This invites close inspection, at which point it's hard not to notice that he lets a few seams show. The unpainted resin is allowed its full nudity in a few of the disparate objects, creating a little joke about the nature of transparency in the art work. This is pushed further by the presence of a sculpted glass of water sitting by a window. Enriching the whole experience are the numerous instructions that litter the gallery about keeping your distance from the objects and wiping your shoes, adding a slightly ritualistic layer, and odd air of mystery, to the seemingly ordinary objects.

      Marla Hlady at Jessica Bradley Art + Projects from February 26-March 26.


      Marla Hlady's audio-tactile sculptures at Jessica Bradley invite the viewer to touch them. Not just because they are made of a series of tastefully stained wooden boxes, but because doing so activates the audio portion of the piece. Each of the boxes making up the work contains a sample from a Nina Simone performance. As the gallery goer roves from one to the other, they are remixing the performance, creating sometimes startling contrasts. Essentially, she turns time in a series of physical objects which you can then stack up like the sonic equivalent of an evanescent Inukshuk.

      James Gardner at LE Gallery from March 4-27.


      The latest show by James Gardner at LE Gallery features a series of hybridized paintings/sculptures which take apart the normal dichotomy between the surface and the support of a painted work. He turns everything inside out with what amounts to a kind of gallery gore show. If a painting is a kind of skin, what it hangs on - from the board to all elements of the gallery - are basically the guts it holds together. This highly physical play on space is what he creates, depicting shrunken, yet still bloated abstract expressionist paintings receding in the upper cavity of the pieces. From a distance the works appear almost like inflatable or soft sculptures. On closer inspection though, their heaviness and excess of splintering details becomes apparent. Oil paint is rendered like stucco on the miniature gallery walls, but it is the densely layered floorboards, twisting up as if revealing the sedimentary layers of the gallery space, that dominates.

      Also this week:

      If you're at the LE to see the Gardner show, be sure to pop into the back gallery to see Scott Waters' latest examination of weapon fetishism. Actually, it serves as an interesting accompaniment to Jennifer Wardle's current show at The DepArtment. It showcases owls cats and other creatures in rustic scenes overrun by helicopter attacks.

      Images courtesy of LE Gallery, Georgia Scherman Projects and Jessica Bradley Art + Projects.

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