April Hickox makes a splash in her Vantage series, which includes Porthole 1, 2011.
APRIL HICKOX at Katzman Kamen Gallery (80 Spadina), to June 2. 416-504-9515. See listing. Rating: NNNN
Living on the Toronto Islands has given April Hickox an affinity for the water. The photos in Vantage were shot aboard a freighter sailing the St. Lawrence to Montreal. One series looks through portholes at passing scenery that often includes derelict industrial structures. For the Rain project, she goes on deck to capture wet weather.
The portholes' thick glass, against a dark background that recalls her photographs of found objects, functions as a kind of camera lens. Raindrops hitting her lens above-deck echo the porthole shape, giving a circular-patterned texture to the misty maritime scenes.
Unlike Benjamin Lowy's ominous photos of Bagdad shot through the windows of armoured vehicles (part of Public at the U of T Art Centre), a sense of quiet melancholy and nostalgia pervades Hickox's images.
If all photos are windows, theirs are doubly so, dramatizing the reason and situation behind the picture and highlighting the vantage point of the person behind the lens.