Summer group shows at commercial galleries are often little more than highbrow garage sales. Cool Stuff might just as well be sprawled across a Forest Hill lawn.Leo Kamen has dusted off unsold works and scattered them in all reaches of the gallery. The work is obviously the best of the rest, but three artists stand out.
Holly King painstakingly constructs sets that she then photographs to create fantastic landscapes where mythical creatures could be imagined to play. One photo reveals a dark seascape in which reflective material creates the undulating waters. In the distance, a small island seems in danger of being pushed ever farther away.
The work contrasts with her usual rich palette of colour, as can be seen in the other King photo on display. Here, the sky is painted in a myriad of pinks and purples that are mirrored in the water below. Translucent fabrics fall from the sky, giving the effect of a deep mist or a light curtain of trees in the foreground.
April Hickox has several black-and-white photos in the show, but one is particularly arresting. A tree, blooming in white, stands silently under the gaze of Hickox's lens. A shaft of light strikes from the sky, adding a magical highlight. It's as if the world has come to a halt, frozen in a single peaceful second.
Two paintings by Wanda Koop reflect on isolation. A long horizontal work in blue shows an industrial plant faded off into the distance. A greenish-grey landscape is more desolate. Each is given Koop's signature concave rectangle highlight of colour, but even that is not enough to rescue the mood from desolation.
Beyond cool, much of the work is bleak, gloomy and/or cold. Perfect for those who are beginning to look forward to firstname.lastname@example.org
Cool Stuff at Leo Kamen (80 Spadina, suite 406), to September 7. 416-504-9515. Rating: NNN