Art Agenda: CONTACT reviews of Lynne Cohen, Eldon Garnet, and Andrew Wright
This is the last look at photo shows related to this year's CONTACT Festival festival. This time, it's three galleries nestled on Dundas West.
Eldon Garnet at Christopher Cutts from May 21 - June 18
Toronto based photographer, poet and art theorist Eldon Garnet's work has long had an anthropological bent, straddling ideas of the sacred and profane. Vaguely cultic imagery, generally violent or sexual, is juxtaposed with images of banality. The clash also applies to scale as he oscillates between close-ups and distant shots, between the highly composed and apparent snap shot.
All of these elements are pulled together in overly overdetermined structure. His photos are sometimes displayed in grids which ironically poke at abstraction or at blasphemy with inverted crucifixes. In his new show at
Christopher Cutts, he settles for classical triptychs to display his images. It allows him to equalize each element, obscuring how they can add up to a meaning while their juxtaposition still suggests a mysterious cosmology.
Lynne Cohen at Olga Korper from April 28 - June 1
Montreal's Lynne Cohen has been one of the major talents to emerge from Canada in the photography scene in the last thirty years. She has excelled in a consistent practice which concentrates on cold and strangely humorous photos of figureless anonymous interiors. For a long time these were concentrated in Canada and the northern States, creating slightly disturbing essays on the appalling interior design of the continent. Her focus has since expanded to the world. Her current show at Olga Korper even includes some Venetian and Grecian kitsch. There's not much in the show that would surprise anyone familiar with her work. Aside from the scale - they're larger than any of her earlier pieces - it's more anonymous, colourful corporate interiors with a slightly menacing edge.
Andrew Wright and Sandra Doore at Peak Gallery until June 4
One of the more surprisingly off-kilter shows in the CONTACT festival was Andrew Wright's show at Peak. His large scale pieces do away with the sophistications of the camera, replacing them with the primitive brutality of a can. Poking a pinhole small enough for a few strands of hair, he then exposed the material inside to create his pieces which play quite elegantly on the figure and ground theme of the festival.
But if you're suffering from photo fatigue, you can walk into the yard of the gallery to see some new sculptures by Sandra Doore. Although they figuratively suggest dismembered torsos skewered on stripper poles, that's just part of the game she's playing. Stitching together the refuse of consumer culture, her vaguely Bellmeresque sculptures are lewdly suggestive, highly tactile and invite a simultaneous repulsion and fascination.
Photo credits Peak Gallery, Olga Korper and author.
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