Pierre Poirier at O'Connor (97 Maitland) to July 6. 416-921-7149. Rating: NNN
Defiant at Gallery X (491 Church) to July 11. 416-925-6665. Rating: NN
David Wall and Deryk Angstenberger at This Ain't the Rosedale Library (483 Church) to June 30. 416-929-9912. Rating: NN Rating: NNN
diverse. defiant. divine. pride 2003 is being billed as a 3-D event, but the art on display in the Church Street area this week is pretty one-dimensional. Works by David Wall and Deryk Angstenberger occupy the upstairs gallery at This Ain't the Rosedale Library . Wall makes a competent portraitist, while Angstenberger paints unassuming acrylic abstracts. Lighter works have been grouped in a well-lit room, and moodier pieces in a darker corner. Diverse styles are definitely on display here - so much so that the show feels random, or as if four or five artists were participating.
Angstenberger has hung various types of work, from flat colour fields through mildly abstracted still lifes to a body of OK photographic work. Wall's paintings form more of a group, with a series of rougher sketches of the courtroom drama of Thomas Kerr, the man who alleged he was taken to Cherry Beach and beaten by police, a clear standout. It's a nice, feel-good, amateurish show. This ain't the AGO.
Defiant, the Pride show at Gallery X , is only sorta contrary; in fact, the most defiant aspect of most of the work here is that it doesn't succumb to gravity. A mess of pieces spill from the lobby of Xtra into an open gallery space. Textiles, painting, woodwork and photography line the walls, all blending into one forgettable blur.
There are, however, two clear standouts, both portraits. Daryl Vocat 's diminutive painting of a young man marks a departure from his typically strong prints. The subject, tattooed, appears at once sullen and strong, empowered yet still insecure.
Recent OCAD grad Kris Knight 's larger work is adjacent to Vocat's and quite similar in content. Again we see a young queer, this time more gender- neutral. The subject stands face on, in a white tank top, before a wilderness background. The eyes are the focal point: they're weary, lined with dark circles, yet fixed in a stare that is, yes, defiant.
Over at O'Connor , Pierre Poirier 's studies and sculptures are well executed if a bit predictable - variations on the naked male torso. The same theme appears in an underwear ad on a billboard less than a block away from the gallery at Wellesley and Church.
Poirier's forms are well defined and placed in classic poses (except for the cock-in-hand stuff). In the sketches, every ripple in the skin is cut into the paper with a shaded line. There are no heads. There are no legs. It's an interchangeable collection of torsos, arms, bums and penises.
It is very solid work, but like everything else on display this week in the area, far from divine.
email@example.com Three shows on Church fail to live up to Pride's Diverse Defiant Divine theme