Sad Regina

Rating: NNNRegina, Saskatchewan, is not the most fascinating city in Canada. And Chris Gergley, a native of the Queen.

Rating: NNN

Regina, Saskatchewan, is not the most fascinating city in Canada. And Chris Gergley, a native of the Queen City, as it’s called, has succeeded in revealing just how bland it is. We’re talking the-Keg-is-a-hot-nightspot dull.Gergley, like most young people bred in the prairie province’s capital city, headed for the mountains after high school and settled in Vancouver. Still in his 20s, he has established himself as an up-and-comer in the West Coast’s dominant but perhaps long-in-the-tooth photo-based art scene.

Regina is a desolate city in many ways, its population aging. Gergley’s photos are straight, unsentimental shots of empty spaces and human traces.

In one, a pawnshop showing few signs of life sits between a boarded-up store and another with a prominently displayed for-sale sign.

In a pair of images of rickety bungalows, bright green trees contrast with the downtrodden man-made and man-ruined elements. A one-storey high school is splayed across another picture, its sign covered by graffiti.

It’s a sunny city in general, but the Regina sky is always grey in Gergley’s shots. No building has more than one flat storey. There’s never any life.

Back alleys are empty. Brick is often fake, the aging tar-backed paper peeling back from the wall. An orange muscle car stands stalwart in front of a fake-brick warehouse. An faded old red Chevy Lumina nestles beside a small fake-brick garage. Someone wrote AC/DC in black marker on the white garage door before moving on.

Gergley’s Queen City is a rock-on world that has lost its rock-on boys and girls.

Gergley at Monte Clark (752
Queen West) to June 23. 416-703-1700.
Rating: NNN

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