Greg Staats at Gallery TPW (80 Spadina), to May 11. 416-504-4242. Rating: NNN
greg staats's black-and-white prints showcase the saddest little bunch of chairs, appliances and twigs you've ever seen. All but one of Staats's subjects seem poised on the brink of oblivion, if not the edge of the curb. A tub waits in a walkway, overturned and forgotten. Bundles of branches lie in piles, shackled. An old appliance, abused, sits with its guts hanging out. A rickety old white frame stands in the midst of a grubby backyard.
It seems barely able to withstand the weight of gravity, as if Staats had snapped the photo an instant before the frame gave a last gasp and slumped finally to the earth.
These aged objects are very human, and that's what makes these photos so touching.
A number of the prints were shown at Mercer Union two years back.
Old favourites include a blanket that's been wrapped in plastic and left curbside.
It's bathed in the bright glare of a flash, as if it were a fading star caught at twilight by a paparazzo. In another photo seen at Mercer, two rugs, in daylight this time, are sprawled on top of one another.
Half off the curb, they cling desperately to each other. The end is near.
There is one photo that doesn't highlight decay and agedness. A small solitary white tree, rounded and full, sits in a field. Isolated from the dark trees in the background, it still embodies loneliness, but here there is a sense of hope.