Gary Spearin, David Liss and Gebhard Sengmüller at S.P.I.N. Gallery (156-158 Bathurst) to April 28 (Liss to April 25). 416-530-7656. Rating: NNNN
s.p.i.n. gallery is flooded with red. So much so, in fact, that Gary Spearin's show has been entitled Rred, the extra "r" giving it a Tony-the-Tiger-like kick. Despite the monochromatic nature of the show, the theme never dulls.Each canvas is slathered in red oil paint, and Spearin creates unusual patterns and textures with his strokes. Spaghetti-like grooves snake across the canvases.
Counterbalancing these aggressive, winding forms are softer shapes resembling pillows. They seem to explode from the paintings like puffy softnesses, coloured white with red streaks to create a pinky hue.
In contrast to the saturated colour up front, pieces by David Liss -- curator of the group show at MOCCA in which Spearin also participates (see next review) -- are modest little charcoal drawings. The plants he depicts are at once fossilized and humming with life. They take pre-20th-century botanical drawings as their inspiration but benefit from a childlike whimsy that makes it clear that scientific purposes are altogether secondary.
Also on display as part of the Images Festival at the very busy S.P.I.N. Gallery is an invention by Austrian artist Gebhard Sengmüller called VinylVideo. It plays video from a regular record player using a special conversion box.
You simply cannot blend retro cool and artistic tech any better.