AGAINST NATURE group show at Olga Korper Gallery (17 Morrow), to September 4. 416-538-8220. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
Against Nature is yet another summer group show at an established gallery. The curatorial statement is hollow, and the show reveals the retail mentality that lurks behind high culture: this is a year-end blowout sale. That said, there is some interesting work here. The list includes Christine Davis , Reinhard Reitzenstein , Stan Denniston , Lynne Cohen , Robert Fones and Barbara Steinman . You can get yourself a 1979 Robert Mapplethorpe print for $9,000.
The star of the show is Cohen's photograph Military Installation, 2000. The large colour print features the back of a tank, complete with a gleaming Canadian licence plate, whose front end is aimed at a model of a town in a training facility. Cohen has been visiting restricted-access areas in North America and Europe for years, and has some fascinating and mysterious shots. (Visit www.olgakorpergallery.com to see the rest of them.)
Though she applied through all the official channels, it's still a miracle that Cohen was let into any of these places. Clearly, she's agreed to be discreet about where she's been, as many of the works feature enticingly obscure titles. Some are military facilities; some appear to be test labs.
Her images are all devoid of people, and the use of existing light focuses our attention on the impeccable design of the spaces she's documenting. The creepy ones entitled Spa and Laboratory even feature obvious devices for doing things to people (or perhaps aliens, if you're bent that way).
Also look out for the photographs of backlit garments with projections of bondage imagery from Christine Davis's Anagram Series, and the three paintings by Robert Fones that develop his pastel motif of niches-as-faces.