METAMORPHIC at LandymoreKeith Contemporary Art (800 Dundas West), to February 17. 416-361-3074. Rating: NNN
Metamorphic unites veteran Toronto artists Julie Voyce and Bonnie Lewis with up-and-comer Neil Harrison to offer eye-popping colour and pattern. This fun, psychedelic show enlivens the grey January everyday, even if the artworks sometimes seem like studio odds and ends.
Lewis’s large oil painting King Belly is strongest in show: Electric Company graphics meet Alice in Wonderland narratives meet Anna Sui palettes. The result is an organic cloud of fashionable fantasy hinting at femininity and girlhood. Her other three paintings are similarly toned but less resolved.
Harrison offers three large red look-at-me canvases that, aside from their uniform base colour, feel quite different. Solve Et Coagula is best, with young 70s-paperback-cover parents gone formally bonkers through a nice combination of line and spillage, neatness and mess.
Voyce’s smaller linocut prints are similarly super-bright but have more of an 80s-textile feel, with ambiguous, roughly hewn forms and neon hues. Though installed prominently at the front of the gallery, they suffer a bit from being more modest in size and medium than the rest on display.
Though united by dreamy surrealism, these works somehow feel anachronistic. Lewis, aside from these 05 paintings, makes moodier, pointed caricatures of girls in which King Belly’s elements are more backdrop than focus. Harrison’s paintings here are disparate in intent: one’s flat, another plays with just two layers, and a third mixes several layers and forms. Voyce’s linocuts have been printed in many different colours elsewhere; overall, it’s unclear how they’re supposed to be presented.
Still, Metamorphic’s good coffee for concrete-weary eyeballs. Get it while it’s hot.