ARTEFACT at the 519 Gallery (519 Church), part of Pride 2006, to June 23. 416-392-6874. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
A suitably celebratory air greets you at the entrance to the gallery in the 519 Community Centre's new extension. Curator Kevin Brewer has brought together a dozen queer artists working in a variety of media for an upbeat, enjoyable show. Its billing as an "historical event" has an unintended double meaning, since a few of these works have been around for a while, but fortunately they're worth seeing again.
In its latest iteration, Gillian Farnsworth and Rowena O'Connor 's sculpture Engineered features two trees that embody the female form. One bears a skin of metal sheets, while the other has a waxy, translucent look. Both are rooted in a mound of bark mulch, forming a miniature, gallery-bound forest playground for three little critters resembling armadillos.
Boy Scouts tie up their leader in Daryl Vocat 's A Boy's Will, a series of screen prints on paper, while painter John Monteith layers pink, blue, purple and black drawings of a crane and a row of houses.
Allyson Mitchell turns bits of fun fur into glorious pictures of girls on sunset beaches. Leif Harmsen paints not a naked man but the pixels of a low-resolution picture of him. And Andrew Harwood 's glitter- and sticker-covered motorcycle lovingly dolls up the two-wheeled icon of masculinity.
Artefact's strength stems largely from its presentation of artistic invention as social intervention. One artist, however, skips politics for an unfettered utopian vision.
Capturing the community spirit, 519 stalwart George MacIntyre offers two blissful, simple paintings of the Village, each in memory of a lost friend. One work, dedicated to Greg Pavelich, shows the park behind the 519 under colourfully curtained apartment blocks.
The other is an ode to the Stables and its fallen owner, Janko Naglic, with a pristine blue sky, red-glitter sidewalk and green-glitter trees.