Sol LeWitt , C.A. Swintak and Lawrence Weiner at Swing Space in the Art Gallery of Ontario (317 Dundas West), ongoing. $8, stu/srs $5, Wednesday 6-9 pm free. 416-979-6648 Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
The AGO was smart to open swing Space during its massive renovation.
Curated by David Moos , the series has been inaugurated by veteran conceptualists Lawrence Weiner and Sol LeWitt , paired up with young Canadian performance and installation artist C.A. Swintak . This show kicks off a slate of over 20 pieces that will go up over the next two years in an ongoing exhibition.
LeWitt, the grandfather of conceptual wall art, festoons the gallery gift shop with a riotous rainbow.
Using red, blue, orange, green, yellow and purple, he layers acrylic paint to create almost three-dimensional bands of eye-popping color that wend their way with playful precision across all four walls.
It's painted by very meticulous assistants following LeWitt's written instructions: conceptualism's ethos as put forth in LeWitt's Paragraphs On Conceptual Art insists that execution is the stage that requires the least involvement of the artist, whose main job is in the planning. After his thousand-odd wall drawings, it's heartening to see a long-established artist envisioning something so vibrant.
Weiner, another central figure of conceptualism who turned from sculpture to textual descriptions of sculpture and finally to text, dominates the Swing Space proper with a text piece that wrestles with language as a means of liberation and confinement. Put up by the AGO staff with some unusual guidance and direction from Wiener, it's a brooding work made up of a terse and open-ended sentence.
Swintak won me over with her seemingly careless jumble of messy bedroom junk and Canadiana that turns a doorway into a weirdly glorified mantel piece. Pillars stand on either side of the door and support two life-size bedrooms that are exact mirrors of each other, converging around a wall-mounted deer head.
On closer inspection, the installation reveals meticulous and autobiographical details. The floors around each rumpled mattress are inlaid with beer cans, crumpled panties, red heels and discarded jeans. It's a sassy assemblage by a Canadian woman artist who leaves her clutter out in the open.
Moos's judicious contrast of an emerging Canadian talent with the venerable forefathers of wall art makes for an interesting mashup. It also shows that contemporary art has acquired quite a sense of humour since the 60s.