Nicholas Di Genova: At the Water's Edge at Le Gallery (1183 Dundas West) to August 8. 416-532-8467. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
Images of an apocalyptic world gone awry are never far below the surface of our collective imagination, instances of which can be seen in Nicholas Di Genova's current show at Le Gallery.
Images of war, predation and genetic mutation gone berserk dominate his obsessively detailed drawings and sculpture. Di Genova's world is populated by war machinery and bio-mechanical super-predators battling each other for supremacy in a post-human wasteland. These are no high-school notebook doodlings. Di Genova's drawings are viciously streamlined and powered by disciplined draftsmanship.
He also alludes to at least a dozen influences: the dragons of Graeme Base, Frank Miller's hard-boiled pen-and-ink style, graffiti and tag art, all things otaku and the naturalistic drawings of Albrecht Durer. His works inhabit a crossroads between animation, design and art, transcending genres and claiming a territory all their own.
Art-speak aside, speaking as a guy who was first in line for The Empire Strikes Back at the age of nine, these drawings are fucking cool. They tap directly into the giddy kid in all of us who revels in the idea of armies of giant fish-headed soldiers, saurian mutations ripping each other to shreds and towering three-headed crab robots.
On the level of pure special-effects gee-whiz-ness, they rival some of the best production art I've seen. Yet they also latch on to something deeper, a dark area of the imagination more closely linked to Goya's monsters than to any sci-fi blockbuster.
And could the subjects of war, mutation and human extinction be more relevant?