Marla Hlady at Canada Quay (York Quay Centre, 235 Queens Quay West), to March 20. 416-973-4000. Rating: NN
It's hard to believe that minimal ism, once a rebel art movement from the 60s underground, could become stale. In the case of Marla Hlady 's Wilderness Tourist, it has become that and more.
Hlady has filled one window of the Canada Quay pavilion with an iridescent tarpaulin punctuated with steel grommets. Closer inspection reveals a sound element: canoe paddles slapping the water. The obligatory accompanying text urges you to question your relationship to nature as a tourist. I was left questioning my relationship to state-sponsored minimalism.
Good installations need interesting settings and a certain dissonance that reconfigures the space. Everything about this piece - its placement in a tourist kiosk, its thin allegory about surfaces and tourism, with splashing oars, no less - smacks of complacency wrapped in artspeak.
I'm willing to accept any object as a piece if the premise is compelling. But a tarpaulin catching the light in a window that's supposed to make you think of the great Canadian wilderness is just dull.