THE LIGHT FANTASTIC at Nicholas Metivier Gallery (451 King West), to August 31. 416-205-9000. Rating: NNN
Nicholas Metivier gallery groups together photos and paintings that use the play of light to depict imaginary or idealized cityscapes, landscapes and interior spaces.
British photographer Emily Allchurch combines digital images of modern buildings and landscapes into backlit transparencies that interpret Old Master paintings. I'm not always a fan of such digital trickery, but Allchurch's golden light and soft texture beautifully capture the feel of classical art works, while glimpses of graffiti and advertising spice up the scenes.
Spanish-born painter Enrique Romero Santana and photographer José Manuel Ballester are fascinated with vacant spaces.
Ballester, who had a solo show here during Contact, photographs large public venues when they're closed or under construction, suggesting the absent crowds they're meant to hold. In his two images of museum rooms, the stately galleries give off a mysterious glow as they stand quietly in readiness for works of art.
Santana's hyper-realist paintings of depopulated modern office buildings, including one of the TD Centre, have a similar aura of light-filled expectancy.
It's hard to see how Japanese fashion photographer Izima Kaoru's lurid "dead" haute couture model lying on the floor of an empty pachinko parlour fits in with the show's subtler works.
Now we know where America's Next Top Model got the idea for the corpse shoot.
The Canadian painters' approaches range from traditional to eccentric. Tom Hopkins's Lifeline, a dark, textured, stormy seascape with a small grounded boat, could have been painted in the 40s. Katharine Harvey uses the gimmick of coating her pleasant landscapes and rain-downpour abstracts with a thick layer of wavy clear acrylic. Douglas Walker's strange blue and white paintings of Gothic towers set in Chinese mountain landscapes are ornamented with odd fan-shaped and curlicue brushstrokes and cryptic numbers.
These explorations of light, colour and space seem appropriate for an end-of-summer show.