Melissa Levin at Zsa Zsa Gallery (962 Queen West), to November 29. 416-537-3814. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
Pieced together in a whole new way, the puzzles at Zsa Zsa Gallery take on a new life - much like the artist.
Recovered from an almost fatal illness, Melissa Levin gives us You Only Live Twice, a show that uses collaged puzzles to give them new life, demonstrating that time usually considered wasted can be used to create new perspectives.
Levin discovered the secret that puzzle pieces in the same series fit even though the images do not. So out of what is now a floor-to-ceiling stack of boxes came 13 puzzling art pieces made from mixing two or three sets together.
When we look at the completed puzzles, one half of the brain takes in the aesthetics of the colour and layout while the other half tries to comprehend the jumbled image.
But the meaning won't ever become clear and our brains continually work, unable to accept the strange picture. In Grazing Forest, for example, we want to see a complete image, but it forever appears pixelated and noisy. Clearly two images confused together, half a horseback rider floats in the air and a road interrupts a mountain.
Strangely, some of the images from different puzzles do jibe even though they're not intended to. Eyes of cats fit exactly where the eyes of seals should be. Spring rolls and salsa fit perfectly amongst the ice-cream sundaes from another puzzle.
Everything is wrong, the pictures are tangled, and yet everything looks right. In fact, Levin's layout choices make them look better than they probably would if correctly pieced together.
Maybe that's the point - You Only Live Twice gets you to look twice. Interpret the pictures differently and re-think the "lost time" used in putting puzzles together. Maybe that time will have new meaning or a second chance. This project is just in its starting stages, but Levin has plans for it that she will piece together - in her own way.