SUSY OLIVEIRA at Peak Gallery (23 Morrow), to April 26. 416-537-8108. Rating: NNNN
I find there’s something incredibly pleasing about Susy Oliveira’s first Peak Gallery solo show, The Girl And The Bear. Maybe it’s that her angular-yet-realistic sculptures are a bit dorky and obvious, like me. Maybe it’s that they look like 1980 computer graphics, all rough triangulation and imperfect rendering.
Maybe it’s because they combine the two most typically detailed forms of representation – photography and realist sculpture – to make something that looks totally clunky.
Whatever it is, I find it really funny and great. The only thing the show lacks is more examples of her work.
The exhibit consists of three sculptures, one collage series and one print.
All the sculptures look like origami gone horribly, wonderfully wrong. One is a clumsily oversized bouquet. In another, the titular bear seems to have awkwardly tackled said girl. And the last is of a few small sticks.
The collages of outdoor scenes are perforated with cuts large and small. In the photographic print, the sky in a forest scene has been replaced by holes, allowing real sunlight to shine through the two-dimensional trees.
Of course, I’m aware that Oliveira means deeper things than my silly-seeming references imply. Her artist statement mentions our preoccupation with replacing nature with fabricated versions and bringing virtual models into real spaces.
Both ideas are visible in the work. And the sculptures certainly had to be quite carefully constructed to create such a whimsical, playful effect.
What stays with me, though, are the fake bear’s dumbstruck, glassy, hilarious eyes. They symbolize something serious, but they’re damned enjoyable nonetheless.