Every two years the Sobey Art Foundation throws $50,000 at a young Canadian artist. This show presents the five who made the shortlist in 2004. The runners-up, our very own Germaine Koh , art-throb Marcel Dzama , Althea Thauberger and Greg Forrest , join deserving winner Jean-Pierre Gauthier .
In her textile piece Fête, Koh has carefully and chronologically preserved clippings of her thick, dark hair over the past eight years. Her tinsel-like wall hanging has hair sewn into embroidered ribbon as a kind of commemoration of the past
Dzama's ink, watercolour and root beer drawings on paper depict rows of nocturnal animals, mythic bipedal monsters, 1920s dames and men in suits. The imagery sinks in like a fable without a moral with a cast of characters from a dream.
Thauberger and Forrest don't quite match the standard set by the other three, and none of the works sparks the imagination like Gauthier's three pieces of kinetic art. Glimpse the futility of human striving in the simple mechanical actions of his delicate apparatuses.
One piece could be retelling the myth of Sisyphus in five variations, choreographed for tape measures strung to little electric pulleys installed on the wall.
In another, two more pulleys raise and lower a metal hoop and a small orange plastic cone anchored from below to a retractable dog leash.
The hoop and cone hold thin graphite sticks that draw with random desperation two inverted triangles on the wall.
More organic than mechanic, the motion never seems to repeat itself, though the drawing effect is consistent.
The next variation is similar: this time the hoop set-up has two dog leashes and is rigged with a microphone to amplify the inexorable stretching, banging and ringing of each lift and sudden drop.
SOBEY ART AWARD 2004 TOURING EXHIBITION at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (952 Queen West), until November 6. 416-395-0067. Rating: NNNN