LYNNE FERNIE and wendy coburn at Khrome (920 Eastern) to December 15. 416-260-5695. Rating: NNNN
galleries may be dropping like flies, but this fall, with new-venue openings a weekly occurrence, it feels like the scene is growing. Month-old Khrome occupies the street-side section of the fledgling performance space that shares its name, a second-storey spot in the heart of the ever-more-trendy film district along Eastern Avenue.
Gallery director Elizabeth Fearon offers apologies for ongoing renovations in the hall and lobby areas, but there's no need to excuse the small but light-filled venue.
Fearon has plans to tie Khrome's visual programming into the theatre's lineup, and so with Benedetta Carlini -- Lesbian Nun Of Renaissance Italy set to open later this month, she offered a spot to filmmaker Lynne Fernie (Forbidden Love: The Unashamed Stories Of Lesbian Lives), who has recently resumed the fine art practice that was her first creative love.
Ever astute, Fernie realized that her playful ink-and-latex drawings -- which mark her as a contemporary of angst-ridden-bunny personifier John Scott -- might be a little subtle when it came to pushing the dyke button, and invited sculptor Wendy Coburn to share the show, which is named after one of Coburn's works, The Wonders Of Animal Instinct.
While Fernie explores gesture and abstraction in engaging multi-figure compositions like The Grace Of Falling and gestural studies like Girl And Dog, Coburn -- whose small urethane castings are finished to look like neoclassical alabaster carvings -- sticks to high realism heaped with irony.
There's nothing subtle about Leda And The Beaver, which puts a Sapphic twist on the ancient myth of Leda and the Swan, a phallic fave of Renaissance artists. And while there's nothing overtly sexual about Coburn's untitled girl and dog from her Me, My Friends And The Law series, it's clear that the artist is having fun with innuendo. So, too, with the one piece from her Swan series, a severed head.