WANDA KOOP at Birch Libralato (129 Tecumseth), to November 18. 416-365-3003, www.birchlibralato.com. Rating: NNN Rating: NNNNN
Winnipeg-based artist Wanda Koop's career spans 30 years. The show currently on view at Birch Libralato traces her creative history in paintings that are both elegant and socio-politically engaged.
The broad range of this work reflects Koop's ability to handle multiple narratives, and makes for a fascinating dialogue between her past and present practice.
Koop's misty landscapes look familiar, like places we've been to before, but these dreamlike shorelines and skyscapes are interrupted by discordant geometric discs, lines and squares painted on the canvas's surface.
She intentionally antagonizes viewers with these visual obstacles.
Paintings flicker between a subdued and subtle palette and shattering day-glo pinks and oranges or stark black and white, resulting in a show that balances muted hues with acidic brashness.
Combining naturalistic colour field and minimalist approaches, Koop plays with ideas of desire, paradise and reverie while invoking a sense of surveillance and hostility.
Graphic elements that could be seeking targets imbue landscapes with danger. These aren't necessarily images of combat, but Koop does intelligently reference our culture's obsession with war.
While the work is painterly and meditative, it is also complex and layered, and deserves our attention.