John Oswald at Edward Day Gallery (952 Queen West) to October 4. 416-921-6540. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
I left the Edward Day gallery and all I could do was picture people on the street naked. You'd be lying if you didn't say the same thing.
John Oswald 's show, Instandstillnessence, gives us permission not only to picture clothed people naked, but to actually see them as such, and stare without inhibition.
Overlapping life-sized projections of people of all ages and body types cover the back wall of the gallery in a head-on stance. The still photographs seem to move as they fade in and out of view, further maximizing their mesmerizing quality.
As you watch someone fade from view, another body slowly comes into focus. She's fully clothed, but when you look at her again, while she hasn't moved, her clothes are missing. Seconds turn to minutes, and before you know it you're standing there slack-jawed and bug-eyed, unable to peel yourself away.
Be sure to pay attention to all the works around the gallery, as this recent Governor General's Award winner has other new media tricks up his sleeve. Assemblance, a giant photograph of a head that looks like it was taken with a wide-angle lens, for example, is actually a "photopainting" of 20 digital images stitched together seamlessly. Equally interesting are Oswald's collaged photos and timed exposures.