THE MONSTER SHOW at Sis Boom Bah (35 McCaul), to June 26. Curated by Jeannie Pappas and Matt Crookshank. 416-856-1665. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
It seems like you can't swing a mouse without hitting a commercial artist these days. Of course, it's not surprising that they're everywhere - in the age of information they're in high demand. Too bad so many talented artists give up their artistic integrity for the almighty paycheque. But selling out isn't the end of creativity. As Matt Crookshank , the co-director of Sis Boom Bah , points out, constantly working in the media can actually improve fine art skills.
And that is the inspiration behind The Monster Show, featuring 19 commercial artists who normally work upstairs from the gallery's new location on McCaul near Queen. The other reason for mounting the show is more charitable: it's therapy for the crushed spirits of those who are showing. Here are some highlights.
Erin O'Hara invites our sympathy at the same time as our ridicule (or am I just an ass?) with her deformed and sickly bandaged dolls. These include babies in plexiglas incubators and a young girl in wheelchair who spent most of the opening night stalking partiers via remote control.
Photographer Sean Cohen 's Eat video installation consists of a refrigerator with two red televisions inside and some eerie music. One screen shows a high-speed tour through a No Frills grocery store, while the other features a woman tossing in a bed covered with half-eaten packages of processed food. Consumption is indeed a monster.
And Crookshank himself, under the name Interstellar Motherfucker, has 10 abstract paintings in the show. He continues to mix furniture varnish and oil paint to produce thick and glossy canvases, but with an entirely new vocabulary of shape and colour.
Who said you have to be starving to be an artist? Creators in the commercial arena put on a good show