CHAMELEON at Robert Kananaj Gallery (172 St. Helens), to March 12. 416-289-8855. See listing. Rating: NNNN
In the enigmatic group show Chameleon, curator Robert Kananaj continues his mission as a mentor and incubator for young talent.
Britain’s Clara Bacou, 16 years old but already prolific, contributes two small works on paper, including the signature Chameleon. Her style has a bold, swirling liquidity that blends the best of urban wall art with illustration and dashes of Japanime.
Silvia Argiolas‘s totemic, clustered paintings of girls preening and hanging out radiate a thick cloud of eroticized menace, somewhere between Balthus and Cecily Brown. She often blurs together the rich, often ominous subconscious imagery of childhood with young womanhood, creating a new punk-rock visual mythology in the process.
Queer firebrand and long-time activist Bruce Eves is tucked into the far left corner of the show. His imagery, graphic in both senses of the word, marries sober visual constraint with a disruptive visual and political punch. In Self Portrait #4, for instance, he reduces himself to a few disjointed elements: a pair of socks, two ears, two hands and a pair of glasses nailed to a stark black-and-white grid.
The right half of the gallery is given over to young conceptualist upstart Oscar Figueroa. His ephemeral conceits – a stepladder under a cardboard cutout of a cloud, a piece of marble on the ground before a door papered shut, an entire box of Froot Loops on a string – suggest a restless and extremely involved thought process about material, event and representation.
As always with a Kananaj show, something new, something established and something unexpected.
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