Installations by Gareth Moore (back left and front) and drawings by Derek Sullivan (right) are part of the show of Sobey Award finalists.
SOBEY ART AWARD 2012 at MOCCA (Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, 952 Queen West), to December 30. Pwyc. 416-395-0067. See listing. Rating: NNNN
Sobey Art Award finalists take a sober, almost formalist turn this year, most focusing on installation, assemblage and sculpture. You might call this edition The Return Of The Object, with things found, repurposed and reassembled forming the heart of each work.
Gareth Moore's Beuysian installations of clothing, objects and images raise themes of nomadism and displacement, creating spaces thick with memory and melancholy.
His most effective piece, Recollection Of A Path, puts a suit jacket, boots, walking stick and a dusky picture of the open road against a background of torn strips of wallpaper.
Works by Jason de Haan are an eerie blend of the timeless and the archaic. His reclaimed bust of Newton, mounted on a delicate rusted wire lattice, wears a stalactite beard of crystallized salt that juts out horizontally - in defiance of gravity. The effect is a collage in three dimensions, fusing disparate elements in a tentative whole.
Derek Sullivan's print works are heavily influenced by commercial graphics and a love of the printing process. He turns the bold geometry of modernist illustration and advertising on its ear, creating disorienting images that feel subtly propagandistic.
Concerning herself with the emotional freight of objects, Raphaëlle de Groot makes dense accretions of bric-a-brac, fabric and thread that manage to be at once weighty and delicate. Her most touching work is a photographed visual catalogue of meaningful effects, with the personal story of their origin written neatly beside them.
Eleanor King boldly assembles rock paraphernalia in simple iterations of form and colour, and the results are refreshing. Her stack of rock drums, receding up to the ceiling as they diminish in size, has loud, totemic visual power. And her neat, spyrographic drawing tracing a single LP multiple times using crayons in an array of primary colours, is playful and pleasing.
The winner of the $50,000 award will be announced at MOCCA on Friday (November 16).