BONA FIDE at Headbones Gallery (260 Carlaw, #102), to June 28. 416-465-7352. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
Headbones, also known as the Drawers, is a relatively new east-end gallery dedicated to works on paper. Bona Fide emphasizes original handmade works in a broad range of mediums, from graphite to gouache to digitally coloured collage.
Fans of Mad Magazine remember the ridiculously violent arch-enemies Spy Vs. Spy, distinguishable only by the colour of their uniforms. Jeffrey Thompson updates them with solid modelling, rendered handsomely in charcoal and pastel.
There's something haunting about reconstructing these parodies of Cold War paranoia so carefully, and they bring back odd childhood memories.
Paula Jean Cowan stands out with prints taken from six of her short performance videos, the DVDs of which are also available. Tracing the outline of her body and furniture in real time, she creates an amazingly expressive animated line.
Her everyday acts and rituals around her apartment are imbued with a warm, comedic sensuality that also carries a finely honed edge of loneliness and vulnerability.
New York artist Susan Hamburger upgrades paper plates by painting them with designs from fine china like the Spode Williamsburg collection. She's cheekily exchanged the characteristic country scenery, however, for landmarks from Williamsburg, Brooklyn, a play on the name and on the ultimate collectible value of her work.
Nanna Vonessamieh weighs in with a series of small-scale and unnervingly witty drawings of contemporary authors from Virginia Woolf to Amélie Nothomb.
As visual condensations of literary figures, they are, for the most part, weirdly spot-on: Bukowski's immediately recognizable from the grizzled charcoal smear of his head and his hard-boiled slouch, while Martin Amis levels his cheerfully cynical gaze at us directly, cigarette in hand.
These are only four of nine artists who have contributed a compelling range of work.
Pieces from past exhibitions line the gallery drawers. Headbones is quickly becoming a strong exhibition space and contemporary archive.