Spin That Music at Spin Gallery (156 Bathurst), to March 31. 416-530-7656. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
life on tour sucks. forget your romantic notions about the glam rock-and-roll lifestyle of bands on the road. Michael Stipe's photographs, showing at SPIN Gallery as part of Spin That Music, present an alternative picture. His roughly letter-sized colour prints demystify the legend of rowdy parties and trashed hotel rooms.His works are often distorted by haziness and focal play that generate an irresistible sense of slow motion. The quiet scenes they capture sum up those countless hours of downtime -- waiting for the plane, the photo shoot, the interviewer or, at the end of the night, room service. The weariness, sense of dislocation and boredom are palpable.
Despite REM's multi-platinum success, Stipe has said he's always been more comfortable behind a camera than a microphone.
To look upon these images is to see the man in full. You see the loneliness, the self-consciousness. He bares his complicated moods in these pictures as he passes through shifting, impersonal spaces -- taxis, backstage areas and vacant lots.
The show also features stunning digitally modified colour photographs by venerable musician-producer Daniel Lanois. These gorgeous abstract images, saturated with intense colour, buzz with a weird radioactive energy. This illuminating group show, also including works by Long John Baldry, Tom Wilson and others, strikes a sweet chord.