Niall McClelland’s unusual materials include the toner cartridges that made Stain.
NIALL MCCLELLAND at Clint Roenisch Gallery (944 Queen West) to April 13. 416-516-8593. Rating: NNNN
Niall McClelland's second solo show at Clint Roenisch, The Nature Of Your Oppression Is The Aesthetic Of Our Anger, is street-level and DIY, a continuation of his defiantly lo-fi high-concept approach.
McClelland's pieces can start anywhere, but always with found or re-purposed materials like fluorescent tubes, Sharpies and toner cartridges. Too Poor To Paint, Too Proud To Whitewash, for instance, was made by spray-painting the broken shards of fluorescent ceiling tubes against a wall-sized linen surface.
The resulting image is richly textured and ghostly, bringing to mind a slab of corrugated tin or a geological cross-section.
In the next room, the glass shards that produced that work lie raked into a neat rectangle on the floor, a daunting, impassable Zen garden.
Process, then, is part of the inexorable logic through which each work comes into being. The Home Stretch consists of hundreds of closely spaced vertical lines drawn with Sharpies, using the same colours employed in CMYK four-colour printing.
Turning himself into a human printer across the paper's surface, McClelland produces a stunningly saturated field.
The same goes for Stain: Japanese paper wrapped around toner cartridges becomes eye-popping blossoms of colour.
The combination of reiterated patterns and found materials creates moments of visual surprise that are all the more elegant for being purely procedural. (Andy Warhol's Oxidation paintings come to mind.) The abstractions arising from McClelland's dogged application of formal processes are as unexpected as they are compelling.