Scott McFarland at Monte Clark Gallery (55 Mill, building #2), to December 23. 416-703-1700. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
Scott McFarland's photographs at the Monte Clark Gallery seem to be pleasant illustrations of a collection of manicured Vancouver gardens.
But this is not your regular photography show, and these are not your regular gardens.
As odd elements surface in the photos, you begin to question McFarland's reality - and your own. The horse takes an unnatural stride in Reverse Horse. Shadows fall in different directions in Dipping, Conrad Arida With Mother And Child Wading In The Water. And lilies bloom while dried leaves cover the ground in View Study.
Luckily, most of the photographic rules of composition and balance still preside, so these strange offsets are not off-putting. In fact, they're fascinatingly subtle.
Two palm tree branches perfectly frame the scene in Analyzing, Ryan Otto Conducts Water Test, for example; you wouldn't know they were digitally added. And the pleasing spring orchard panoramas combine 17 photos taken over the season. The edits are seamless.
Each photo is an invented landscape, so the whole exhibit becomes a guessing game.
What was there when the photo was taken?
How many photos did McFarland blend together? What is real and what isn't?
Asking these questions won't help you get closer to the answer, but it will get you closer to the point. Just because they're photographs doesn't mean they represent the truth.