MATTHEW CARVER at Pari Nadimi Gallery (80 Spadina, #403), to June 26. 416-591-6464. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
Like a crow, Matthew Carver has a thing for bright, shiny objects.
After a year and a half in Japan, he's returned with a series of acrylic paintings based mostly on some offhand digital shots he took of the bright Tokyo night. The blurred imagery resembles an impressionist take on neon streets - think Monet does Vegas - but Carver is actually painting from the photographs. He meticulously exploits the imperfections of the digital medium, imitating with his brush the colourful streaking of light caused by camera movement. Nice frames, too.
The really mind-boggling work, however, is on the floor under shiny little stainless steel garbage cans. Using a technique called catoptric anamorphosis, for which he has become known, Carver paints a splayed image on a wooden disc. It's distorted to perfection so that, when reflected in the surface of the can, it becomes readable as a Tokyo taxi or bustling sidewalk. The technique's as old as the use of perspective but is still a fascinating surprise.
I first saw Carver's work in the Personal Grounds group show in 1999. There, he presented large paintings of vintage food mixers, among other shiny things. Amidst the bright colours and remarkable hyperrealism, Carver hid the skewed reflections of people in the chrome bits of his subjects. This element of surprise, keeping his paintings fresh long after the acrylic dries, continues in the anamorphic effects of his current exhibition, Neo Tokyo, at Pari Nadimi Gallery .
Keep a sharp eye on him. The only thing brighter and shinier than Carver's work is his own rising star.