MANY SHADES OF THE DEPARTED... at Clint Roenisch (944 Queen West), to September 3. 416-516-8593. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
Late summer, when the city still feels empty and lingers on the threshold of fall, lends itself to reflection.
Clint Roenisch's lengthily titled group show is a careful meditation on seasonally appropriate themes of death, temporality and other forms of liminality. Eight of Roenisch's exceptional stable of artists from the last season have contributed one work each.
Massimo Guerrera, known for melting conventional social boundaries in his performances, starts the show with Passing Through, drawn on canvas with layer upon layer of brown ink that lends an organic feel to what appears to be multi-dimensional or fragmented space folding and unfolding around two figures lying in a bed.
This comfortable chaos bounces off Christian Eckart's machine-tooled minimalism. His cool neon-green figure eight glows on the opposite wall with a polish that's both sensuous and otherworldly.
Jack Burman's Egyptian head looks amazingly present and expressive for someone who's been dead over 3,000 years. In contrast, Roger Ballen's "Loner", a figure with his back to the camera curled on a dirty bed under a crucified doll, plumbs new depths of alienation.
Chris Cran contributes an understated abstraction of wave patterns tooled into a shimmering surface of gold-green metallic paint, an aqueous point of transition between the front and back rooms. Eli Langer's pencil drawing projects a charged ambiguity with clean and precise outlines.
A group walking through a mountain pass could be on an expedition or crossing a spectral passage into another world. Trevor Mahovsky's totemic Skin Revolution addresses skin as a barrier and the body as object and organic form.
One of the most intriguing pieces, Wade Kramm's The Photographer's Shadow lines up a series of found photographic portraits from the late 50s and early 60s. Since many of the subjects are probably still alive, their appearance as faded ghosts locked into a distant era is doubly haunting.
It's a fitting highlight of the show's subtle and varied readings of limitation and change.