ITS TIME at the Drake Hotel (1150 Queen West), to June 1. 416-531-5042. Rating: NNNN
Mia Nielsen and Catherine Dean‘s subtle curatorial choices at the Drake highlight different photographic approaches to time.
The Gao Brothers, a contemporary art duo from China, dominate the hotel’s lobby with their vast conceptual work, The Forever Unfinished Building. It’s an unnervingly surreal digital refolding of a large concrete structure in which groups of people congregate, go about their daily business or engage in political protest.
Winnipegers, solicited via local ads by Elaine Stocki, gather in local spots for extended shoots. Stocki then waits for singular moments of intimacy or abandon to occur among her subjects, who are total strangers to each other. The process puts into question our dramatic readings of photographs. It helps that each image fairly crackles thanks to her original perspective.
Anne Arden McDonald uses photographic paper like an artisanal material to makes images that are closer to paintings or rubbings. She makes solarized imprints of her body and other objects and then treats the papers, many of them discontinued or expired, with liquids like bleach, aspirin, lemon juice or coffee.
The effect is oddly soothing: instead of sharply arresting an image, the paper is allowed to undergo its own organic process over time.