CARLOS AND JASON SANCHEZ at Christopher Cutts Gallery (21 Morrow), to March 30. 416-532-5566. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
You know right away when you're being confronted with the photography of Carlos and Jason Sanchez . Their prints are huge and crisp and present awkward or anxious moments in a superbly radiant light.
These days their work flies around art fairs and galleries as far flung as Madrid, Miami and, most recently, Portland, Oregon. Not bad for a couple of 20-something brothers from Montreal. Though their style is similar to famous Canadian artist Jeff Wall's realistic, staged photography, the Sanchez brothers make their subjects and presentation their own. Like filmmakers, they often build and light elaborate sets from scratch to realize their vivid scenarios, in which deftly chosen characters are trapped in a moment of torment.
The Christopher Cutts show consists of three large new 170-by-215-centimetre C-prints and one smaller image called 8 Years Old. The big ones are the best.
Abduction takes place in a little girl's attic room and features a large moustachioed middle-aged white man on bended knee, propositioning a little girl with tears in her eyes sitting on her bed amid a pile of nicely wrapped presents. The image, not to mention the tug of the title, screams "Wrong!," and yet the moment could be completely innocent.
In a fantastic set, The Gatherer finds a defeated looking man in a room piled with old toys and other useless crap. His hand is on the switch, and he appears to have unconsciously turned out the light, overwhelmed by the weight of his possessions.
A Motive For Change, visually subtler but still thematically accessible, leaves the studio for a lonely patch of highway in northern Quebec. A young man crouches with a bag by the road in the freezing rain; the treetops are a blur. The misery of his travels is relieved only slightly in light of the clear road ahead.