NICHOLAS DI GENOVA at le. gallery (1183 Dundas West), until August 17. 416-532-8467, www.le-gallery.ca. Rating: NNNN
In due west of the happy-lake Hills, Nicholas Di Genova has expanded his manga-esque world to include engaging characters and a snazzy technique to portray them.
Working like a portraitist documenting the post-human future, Di Genova draws and paints horrific yet innocent machine/animal carcass hybrids, building a protective community. Each character has its own unique and detailed story, as though from a yet unwritten comic book. In the over-arching story, the machines have taken to incorporating animal parts in the monster vehicles they build. It's the old carcass-as-infrastructure routine.
On display are six ink-and-watercolour works on paper and 19 ink-and-animation-paint works on frosty Mylar, all incorporating colourful cloud- and landscapes and looking like oversized animation cels.
Di Genova's characters often appear first in ink on paper. One varmint has mean eyes, chicken feet, mechanical arms and small trees growing on its back.
Of the Mylar works, The Great Monkey Guardian Of The Southern Border stands out. A gorilla head with a mouthful of antennae turns away from the viewer. Machinery spews out of the back of its head in an almost organic way, and there's a sense of dignity, as though the machines that drive the head of the once majestic animal have respect in the community.
Making post-human robotic anthropomorphism look so hopeful and, well, human, is a feat in itself. Di Genova draws life into all his creatures through meticulous detail. Animal hides rot and scar with myriad dots and patches, carefully rendered in greys and greens against pink and blue backdrops.
Also showing at le. is the New York-based Dalek . In bright, happy acrylic on board, Dalek continues to explore the various methods of evisceration of his Space Monkey in flat, geometric shapes.