LAURENCE ACLAND on view at Circa (1506 Queen West) until March 31. 416-535-2098. Rating: NNN Rating: NNNNN
laurence acland's hidden faces strikes an ambiguous balance between the playful and the macabre.
The Toronto-based photographer started this series by photographing his kids and their friends in Halloween costumes, but broadened the scope of the project to include adults hiding behind masks and props -- the central fascination always being what these images reveal.
Acland may take his cues from the twisted, staged vignettes of American cult photographer Joel-Peter Witkin, but while Witkin's work has major goth appeal, Acland can't resist letting a large dose of his own bawdy humour spice up the mix.
And if Acland's art also seems to draw on gargoyles for inspiration -- the pagan demons that incongruously adorn so many European churches -- it may be relevant that the artist's father, architectural historian James Acland, specialized in medieval structures.
NOW readers will know Acland's imagery from the thousands of photographs and photo-illustrations he's created for this publication, and in fact at least one image shot for NOW is featured in this show. But newsprint reproductions don't do justice to the luscious large-format prints on view at Queen-way-West's Circa Gallery.