Arturo Herrera at the Art Gallery of Ontario (317 Dundas West), to April 28. $12, Wednesday after 6 pm free. 416-979-6648. Rating: NNN
if anyone could spark an orgy between Snow White and her seven dwarves, it's Arturo Herrera. In his current show at the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Venezuelan-born, New York City-based artist presents an unnerving erotic tangle of imagery featuring Disney's maiden fair frolicking with her assortment of little men.
Herrera employs materials as diverse as paper collage, watercolour and latex to yield provocative images in a heady style cocktail of cartoonish realism and twitchy abstraction.
He draws us in with his fragments of familiar, ubiquitous icons, only to subvert our comfort level with another more enigmatic narrative altogether.
In Untitled, polymorphous dwarves mutate in a frenzied tangle of cloth caps and stockings. Liberated from the virtue-always-wins moral tale, the tropes of childhood are reconfigured into a pre-shame ecstatic parade of fondling play.
In one work, Study For When Alone Again, the image of a pristine Snow White moves into the realm of adult fantasy and dissolves into an orgasm of loose fluid.
This kind of beloved-heroine-cum-Rorschach-blot image invites all kinds psychoanalytic interpretations.
Still, Arturo resists romanticizing childhood memory despite the extent to which his collages refer to and aim to trigger sublimated desires and thwarted impulses.