pool at Harbourfront Centre's York Quay Gallery (235 Queen's Quay West) until September 16. 416-973-5379. Rating: NNNN
it's been a wet summer down at Harbourfront Centre.Any local artist working toward an exhibit at one of the sprawling lakeside community centre's several venues becomes acutely aware of the site's fundamental relationship to water, but this summer the programmers have gone overboard to commission aquatic-themed installations.
It started with the Great Lakes group show (still on, in part, in Case Studies) and Steve Payne's maritime-tinged stills on view at the Photo Passage.
But the big splash comes courtesy of guest curator Carla Garnet (ex of Garnet Press Gallery), whose reflective Pool presents some of Garnet's personal favourites from the two decades she's been active on the Toronto art scene.
Garnet invited 20 artists to participate before finding out she only had half of York Quay Gallery for the show, so she devised a series of chapel-like niches to give some sense of separation between the works.
While doing this, she also worked hard to emphasize poetic connections among these diverse pieces, which include photography by Janieta Eyre, Eldon Garnet (Carla's cousin), Ruth Kaplan and Sue Lloyd; sculpture by Michael Belmore, James Carl, Denise Cooper, John Dickson, Eldon Garnet, Robert Houle, Warren Quigley and Ben Smit; paintings by Sydney Drum, Katharine Harvey, Douglas Kirton and James Lahey; videos by Rhonda Abrams and Nina Levitt; a drawing by Angela Grossman and photographic documentation of a site-specific installation on Toronto Island by Michael Davey with Delwyn Higgins.
What comes through is an overwhelming sense of peace, with an everpresent hit of menace. It's a remarkably coherent show, and one that -- a rare feat -- manages to convey a sense of what might be going on inside the head of the person who's brought it together.
But Pool has been made with some compromises, and a few of them show. The outdoor works surrounding the Natrel Pond are pushed to the perimeter by a kitschy pair of windsurfing corporate cows, and an outdoor bank of Coca-Cola pop dispensers make it abundantly clear why Carl's amazing Waterfall, a vending-machine mural first mounted at the Toronto Sculpture Garden, couldn't find a place in this show.