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JASON TRUCCO at Robert Kananaj Gallery (1267 Bloor West), to Saturday (June 22), closing party Saturday from 8 pm. 416-289-8855. Rating: NNNN
Jason Trucco, a media artist and director from Los Angeles, has his first solo show in Toronto, Framed, at Robert Kananaj. It's a unique amalgam: cutting-edge conceptual media rooted in the aesthetics of glamorous cinema.
Many of the images feature Jessica Gonyea (of DJ duo Moneypenny) buffed to a silver-screen starlet sheen, making her less an individual than a cinematic signifier. In the diptych Wake Up Screaming, she's asleep on a bed, glamorous and dead to the world. Then, in the second image, she's sitting up screaming, a scene out of a 50s horror film. It's not clear why, which makes the sequence all the more disquieting.
The Monterey shower scene is a cheeky exercise in conceptual video. Actors in Monterey, Mexico, were instructed to recreate Janet Leigh's classic shower scream from Psycho. The results are charming and offbeat: men, women and a young boy do their best to look horrified, and some half-succeed, hitting the mark somewhere between wooden and hammy.
In Framed, Gonyea is crying in front of a makeup mirror, a text by playwright Robert Patrick written on the wall next to her. (Patrick came out of retirement to write the monologue.) "Oh. Jesus. God. What's happened? I can't go back out there," she wails, despairing that she can't be as interesting as a filmic or TV image.
This is a persistent theme: the frame provided by movie and television screens lends a glamour that's lacking in daily life.
In tracing this complex loop running from artist to director to viewer, Trucco exposes both the seductive glamour and the anxiety just under the surface of iconic media.