It's September. on the downside, you can no longer wear white. On the upside, there's a resurgence in the art scene. There's no more appropriate place to begin the season than at Fabienne Lasserre 's exhibition at Luft/Method Space , entitled Metamorphosis. The gallery is filled with monsters and myths rendered in bright colours. Bears spout fire from their forearms, while the heads of other creatures blow up into lots of tiny fragments.
The strongest work is in the back room, where Lasserre's surreal compositions really come together. One canvas features a lively multicoloured Medusa with dancing and squawking snake hair.
Across from it is a painting depicting the classic Greek myth of Artemis (Diana if you're more familiar with the knockoff Roman versions of the stories) and Actaeon.
The story goes that Actaeon happened to pass the hunter and her female companions as they were bathing. Artemis did not like this much and turned Actaeon into a stag. In the painting Actaeon's dogs tear chunks out of their morphed master as he stands wide-eyed like a deer caught in the headlights. Artemis is poised to put an arrow into Actaeon, in case the dogs get too full to finish the job.
Out behind the gallery, Matt Crookshank has created a very black mural that faces and contrasts with a colour-block mural previously painted by Tyler Clark Burke (who, incidentally, is a co-founder of Three Gut Records, the music label that backs the Constantines and Royal City). The darkness of Crookshank's mural is interrupted by negative spaces shaped like organic blobs. Painted in response to the blackout, this piece also speaks to SARS, West Nile, Blaster and So-Big, viruses of the human and computer kind.
Selena Cristo , director at Luft, also works as art editor of Hive Magazine (www.hivemagazine.com), a very strong art and music mag that could fill in for the darling but recently departed Lola. Crookshank is also director of the gallery Sis Boom Bah , where Denise Macharacek and Jonathan Brand are currently showing.
Macharacek's pieces illustrate contraception theories throughout history. The philosopher Aristotle, bright guy that he was, believed that olive oil was a form of birth control. Constantine the African was full of good ideas like using beets to suppress the urge or dill to dry out the semen.
It should come as no surprise that an onion eaten just prior to the sex act might throw a wrench in the works. And there were non-food-related methods as well, such as jumping up and down or sneezing. In each case, Macharacek combines her impressive research with a small painting of the featured wisdom.
In the back of the gallery, Brand's abstract photos of wires, pipes and those painted arrows that you see on roadways line the walls. The work is solid - white pipes make a subtle texture against white brick walls, and coloured wires jump out against a background - but not overwhelming. You'd be better off heeding the spray-painted arrow featured in one of Brand's photos that points back toward Macharacek's work.
Fabienne Lasserre and Matt Crookshank at Luft/Method Space (13 Ossington) to September 28. 416-535-6958. Rating: NNN
Denise Macharacek and Jonathan Brand at Sis Boom Bah (1114 Queen West) to September 14. 416-531-7511. Rating: NNN