DAVID TRAUTRIMAS at Le Gallery (1183 Dundas West), to April 1. 416-532-8467, http://le-gallery.ca. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
It's hard to classify David Trautrimas's astonishing send-ups of industrial scale.
They're not prints, illustrations or photographs, though they contain elements of all three. They verge on pure whimsy, yet they pay meticulous attention to mechanical detail and architectural form.
The images are digitally modified but rely heavily on the raw physicality of the objects depicted. In other words, Trautrimas's work is something new.
He disassembles and rebuilds regular household gadgets such as drills, staplers and toasters, then photographs them as if they were full-scale industrial sites. A toaster becomes a toaster factory or perhaps a brutalist mining station. An oscillating fan, set against a distant fog-shrouded tree, looks like the forlorn skeletal remains of an amusement park.
The original scale of the objects is reconfigured by means of mechanical and Photoshop wizardry, and the resulting fantasy appliance buildings look huge, weighty and not a little age-scarred, wedding our nostalgia for the aesthetic of obsolete industrial artifacts to a dystopian retro-futuristic sci-fi vision. They're eerie and unsettling, seeming both hyper- and unreal.
Trautrimas's use of small objects to summon up images of huge and improbable structures evokes several kinds of associations: the fetishism surrounding household objects, the constant task of reimagining the city through architecture and the pleasures we take as children in fantasy microcosms.
Trautrimas's methodology brings some images to the verge of being over-polished and self-contained, a clever visual joke in danger of exhaustion.
Yet the final images are so startlingly novel and fun, you want to believe in them.