It's a Good Thing at 64 Steps Contemporary Art (1164 Queen West) to January 23. 416-535-1837. Rating: NN Rating: NN
Just as the sleigh bells ring and we're all gathering together to make gingerbread men, 64 Steps Contemporary Art Gallery has to come along and deflate the Martha Stewart-style fairy tale we're lost in. Actually, Stewart's already been debunked. She's behind bars. And the six artists showing at It's A Good Thing are unfashionably late to the Stewart-bashing party.
Hoping to "fill the void left in her wake," the artists present Stewart-inspired pieces but leave you wanting more - from the exhibit.
Good packaging formed the foundation of Stewart's success, from her personal image to her multimedia implied promises of an ideal lifestyle, but this show misses that key element. She never would have approved of how much effort it takes to figure out what these pieces are trying to communicate, let alone why.
A wall of sketches mapping catastrophe have a very tenuous connection to the theme.
Also, where is the insight in the Martha Stewart Living white quilt bearing the message "It's a good thing/ keep it just between ourselves?" Where is Stewart's renowned good taste in the clichéd painted frames without canvases, or her creativity in the unoriginal scale model of an "ideal" neighbourhood that rattles and shakes when you walk by?
David Taylor's Recipe For Disaster, a recipe box filled with cards with instructions for creating the perfect boyfriend, is thought-provoking, funny and almost works. Too bad it's just another disconnect in this gallery full of non sequiturs.
The truth is, there's no gap left by Martha Stewart, but this show is too busy to notice. It's desperately trying to decide if it's for, against or even related to the imprisoned media queen.