In Caligula 2, Katie Pretti deploys her graphite and oil stick in emotional ways.
Le Gallery (1183 Dundas West), to Sunday (November 16.) 416-532-8467 Rating: NNN
Walk two city blocks and you're bound to see a billboard or TV screen sporting something sexamariffic.
Shiny hair in a shampoo ad? Sexy. Couples kissing because they're chewing the right brand of gum? Sexy.
Those fluorescent-coloured, 80s-themed discount cellphone ads? Okay, not so sexy. But you get the idea. Sex appeal, or a mainstream, generalized version thereof, is shoved in our faces constantly.
Katie Pretti's large drawings on canvas, currently showing at Le Gallery, are also sexy, but in a totally different way than those close-up zoom, shiny-shine-shine, tooth-sparkling images that form our public wallpaper. In fact, glancing at Pretti's drawings, they might just look like colourful, swirling, amorphous blobs.
What makes them so va-va-voom - besides the fact that a couple are titled Caligula and all are somewhat based on parts of the body - is the romantic, emotional way she wields her graphite and oil stick. It's almost like she's using her drawing instruments to touch the model rather than the canvas. One gets the sense that she's feeling her way around the subject, rather than simply seeing it.
This isn't an uncommon drawing technique, but it's certainly one we don't see much of these days from young artists like Pretti, who graduated from OCAD in 04.
Sensuality is also reflected in her obvious relish for mark-making - for simply enjoying the feel of slippery graphite or greasy pastel on a given surface. Though Pretti's delight results in a plethora of lines and marks that conceal or confuse rather than clarify her nude models, the overall mood is clear.
This art ain't groundbreaking, but it's well done and enjoyable.