Tania Kitchell at Diaz Contemporary (100 Niagara), to December 22. 416-361-2972. Rating: NNN
Tania Kitchell’s obsession with weather has taken many forms: she has encased herself in snow, designed odd protective clothing, made sculptures out of mittens and scarves, photographed her breath looking like a geyser in the cold, kept a diary of minute climate changes.
For her new show, Lightness, she’s made a series of eight photos of homemade clouds that she takes out for a spin in the park on an overcast day.
Some of the black or white rounded floating forms wander lonely as a... you know, with no visible strings attached, while others are tethered to a standing or cycling person, or a fallen bicycle.
One black cloud overwhelms a figure whose feet stick out of it at the bottom, a kind of cartoon or visual pun of walking bad luck or misery.
In the presence of the changeable real sky, streaked dark and light with wispy cloud formations, Kitchell’s constructions look quite silly, more like a child’s drawing or an idea of a cloud than an attempt to imitate the real thing.
On a wall opposite the photos, five sandblasted wood panels contain text pieces that each offer two enigmatic lines on weather and mood: “He watched the snow fall and his mind went blank.” “Your head in the clouds with your ass in my face.”Weather, a staple of superstition, science and everyday conversation, has now, in the age of global warming, become a major political and ecological issue.
Kitchell’s works are quirky and fun, but I can’t help wondering if she’s taking this all a bit too lightly.