Urban Forest at Tatar (183 Bathurst) to April 10. 416-360-3822. Rating: NNNN
in what seems like an increasing- ly concrete and brick city, a tiny forest has sprouted. Standing in the middle of the Tatar gallery, you feel as if you've stepped out of the bustling Queen and Bathurst area and into a forest clearing.
But lush as it is, with beautiful imagery, this show pleases the eye more than the mind.
That's not to say it's shallow. There's an undercurrent of loss - the trees in this forest have been twisted, blurred, faked, amputated or obviously manipulated by human hands.
Eelco Brand 's video work is patently unreal, yet it has a calming effect. This digital piece shows the tree-lined bank of a swimming-pool-coloured river that is placid, then rages, then becomes placid again.
It's fake, but we've got so used to all things false (they give Oscars to movies that create entire landscapes out of CGI), it almost feels right.
Adriene Veninger 's portrait-style photographs look like a row of crippled trees aggressively pruned by their picture frames. Korean artist Bae Bien-U 's photos are even more attention-grabbing: ominous, dark trees rise and twist out of the ground like a group of threatening hoods waiting to mug an old lady. Laura Wood (note the surname) has made oil paintings of out-of-focus tree limbs that come across as distant and fading memories.
The works of Dennis Lin and Scott Eunson seem to have been cut from the same branch. Eunson's breathtaking wall sculpture resembles hundreds of chopsticks re-enacting the battle scene in Gladiator. It's a well-choreographed piece that's somehow dense and airy at same time. From a distance, Lin's wall works look like a bundle of sticks, but upon closer inspection they become thin, flat, long pieces of beautiful woods knitted together in an elaborate dance. Both artists have made smooth, bulbous floor works, but neither has matched the quality of these wall pieces.