Z’OTZ COLLECTIVE at IndexG Gallery (50 Gladstone), to August 8, reception 7-10 pm today (Thursday, July 24). 416-535-6957. Rating: NNNN
There's a lot to be said for art that abandons the cult of individualism in favour of blurring the boundaries between personalities and artistic temperaments.
The members of the Z'otz Collective complete each other's visual thoughts and intuitions in an ongoing series of collaborative drawings.
Using mostly pencil, ink and watercolour and working off of the other members' cues, Nahúm Flores, Erik Jerezano and Ilya Martínez, the three T.O.-based South American artists in the collective, manage to create new hybrid images that are part waking dream and part visual poem. It's a contemporary take on everyone's favourite surrealist parlour game, the exquisite corpse.
They seem to goad each other to take astonishing visual leaps. Objects, beings and body parts sprout or vomit forth like stages in a creation myth, or are stacked precariously, held together by sheer whimsy.
Sometimes, a single central figure is made up of disparate elements. No matter how dreamlike or totemic the images, the push always seems to be toward some sort of collaborative figure or narrative.
In There's Something About Her, the iconic Frida Kahlo's head, wearing donkey ears, sits atop a pillar emerging from a box, while Tales Of Man draws on much more universal themes of vegetation, flight and speech.
The most remarkable pieces achieve a childlike metaphysical purity. The Advantage Of Being Mortal combines symbolic elements (mask, leaf, pond and bear) in a way that is both meditative and strangely haunting.