Trip-In: The ontology of the imaginative realm at the Susan Hobbs Gallery (137 Tecumseth), to March 18. 416-504-3699. Rating NNNN Rating: NNNN
The West Coast comes to Toronto in this group show, in which three Vancouver artists toy with the ways visual imagination informs perception. Serious thought went into hanging the show, which relies as heavily on an organic sense of form and colour as it does on an elaborate conceptual process.
Sandra Meigs 's textured surfaces and silhouette shapes seem casually naive at first glance, but they are actually carefully planned.
Layering the canvas with gesso, she produces smooth raised lines and surfaces whose negative spaces hold as many surprises as her blobby and colourful shapes. Taken as a whole, her paintings invoke the visual logic of childhood, when examining a bedroom wall could yield a world of surprising or potentially menacing forms.
Daniel Laskarin 's sculpture reconfigures rugged Canadian artifacts. Here, he builds antique farm implements into multi-faceted objects that defy description. In this witty and irreverent free-for-all, materials clash, unpainted wood against fibreglass or honey-combed aluminum, with a found object or bit of fluff thrown in for good measure.
Laskarin seems to be wrestling with the absurd and irresolvable conflict between representation and abstraction, and he makes it fun.
In Patrick Howlett 's paintings, delicately shaded forms continuously fold in on themselves at sharp angles, in contrast to the canvases' rounded corners and intimate scale.
They're the product of a process that starts with fragments of art reviews that Howlett Googles for image content.
This recycling of criticism back into image works better than you'd expect: the paintings are strangely pleasing and self-contained, hovering somewhere between pattern and landscape, word and image.
These artists work from a variety of conceptual vantage points but are unified by their inventive and energetic sense of colour and form.