NESTED HEARTBEAT at Robert Kananaj Gallery (1267 Bloor West) to November 3. 416-289-8855. Rating: NNNN
Nested Heartbeat is the new fall group show at curator Robert Kananaj's year-old venue on Bloordale's emergent gallery row.
It's a collection of works by promising artists in Toronto's burgeoning downtown scene.
One window is filled with dead leaves, and the other is occupied by Stefan Thompson's feral creatures made of paper and beeswax. His drawings line one side of the gallery, taped in place like so many wind-blown fragments. A former street artist, Thompson has recently vowed to use only natural pigments and materials. The result is a muted palette echoing those leaves in the window.
Jordan Seal's cryptic drawings hang on the other wall, where figuration and lettering morph into all manner of organic shapes and assemblages. Figures always seem on the verge of liquefying into life forms or coalescing into words, occasionally giving way to utopian statements.
In the back, Juan Carlos Noria's virtuosic paintings are as decidedly urban as Thompson's are earthy. His high-octane sci-fi and barrio imagery threatens to fly off the deconstructed cardboard boxes they're sprayed on.
Wing Yee Tong's fabric sculptures resemble doodles craftily rendered in three dimensions. See, for example, the giant coil of pink plush tubing in the back of the gallery, or the giant brown spider web hanging on the back wall. Ominous content (intestines, spider webs) contrasts playfully with accessible, toylike form.
In the far corner is Going For Broker, Jason Trucco's ultra-slick and ingenious video piece. Its suited stockbroker, crisply framed in black and white, sits and mostly looks dejected. His mood, however, is directly controlled (via software) by indicators on the international stock market. When markets rally, the broker dances. The heartbeat of the market is pulsing visibly in the back of the room.