Music, art and hot pot combine at Christie & Dupont
Rebecca Fin Simonetti is one of my favorite visual artists, but she's also one of my favorite Toronto musicians. She and multidisciplinary artist Alex Mackenzie planned to end their residency at Halo Halo Village this Saturday with a performance of their joint noise project Wet Nurse, but broken gear led to Simonetti playing solo instead — exciting news as she rarely plays live.
The scene at Halo Halo was relaxed in the early afternoon and the storefront smelled of the Village's "collage cuisine" — delicious hot pot was served before the planned performance and artist talk. Simonetti and Mackenzie's installation covered every inch of Halo's main room: collage, graffiti, and amps and cords draped with neon thread set the backdrop for detailed drawing work.
Art lovers and friends trickled in all afternoon, then Simonetti sat, a discarded television showing a still collage image behind her, and joked about gear trouble before cautiously beginning her stripped down set.
Fin, Simonetti's solo handle, is a unique and emotional noise/pop project - earlier Simonetti had discussed the album she's working on with me, a full length which alternates between harsh noise and "real pop — not Ariel Pink type stuff: Mariah Carey pop." Simonetti is obsessed with culture and imagery, and her fixations appear in her music. Knuckles baring the name "BURT," Simonetti sang, soldered contact mic at her throat, "come to Guantanamo, gonna show you a time that you never knew" over distorted toy keyboard melodies. The sound of her voice changed as she moved the mic from place to place, giving life and variation to her songs.
After Fin's short set Simonetti began her artist talk, covering major themes in her drawing and installation work such as childhood, phenomenology, grief, and obsolescence. Simonetti explained that her music, like her devotion to digging for haunting digital images and collecting children's toys, is play-time and research — inspiration she can bring back to the intense, serious practice of her painting and illustrative work. "Everything is representational and sincere; nothing is surreal, random or ironic" Simonetti said of her vibrant red ink drawings of girls, goats, fabric, musical equipment and horse dummies.
Simonetti also talked about her relationship with the unique Halo Halo Village, whom she interviewed in this month's Offerings Magazine, and her involvement with the upcoming Age of Consent exhibition in April at U of T Scarborough's Doris McCarthy Gallery in April — a show where you may not be able to see Fin play (sorry), but you will have access to the end product of Simonetti's musical explorations.
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