TONY ROMANO at Diaz Contemporary (100 Niagara), to July 28. 416-361-2972. Rating: NNN
Toronto artist and filmmaker Tony Romano 's recent solid but oddly timid work alters our perception of the familiar - the Toronto skyline, tomato plants, waking up in the morning and (for some) philosophical literature.
The humbleness of these works calls for quiet contemplation, but their modesty is a double-edged sword.
Trial Of Judas With Constant Reference To Dorothy Retallack consists of two tomato plants in sealed wooden cabinets. The plants have been exposed to the Judas Priest album Stained Class, played either forwards or backwards, to test whether they respond to rumoured violent messages when the album is played in reverse. Interestingly, one is noticeably bigger and greener than the other.
Johnny Young/William Judge is a music installation that comments on S¿ren Kierkegaard's philosophical novel Either/Or. Sleek artwork accompanies the turntable and vinyl, and the talented singer/songwriter includes lovely moments that give us a candid peek into his world through the tone of his voice. In When The Day's Work Begins, two brilliantly executed photographs show the artist and his girlfriend right before the alarm goes off in the morning. Their feet are sculpturally tangled in bedsheets, creating a haphazard beauty.
Although loaded with novelty, Romano's show is a smidgeon too modest to come across as outstanding. You wish that Romano's sensibilities resonated more clearly in When The Day's Work Begins, and that the show had 20 beautiful images instead of a mere two.