Michael Snow and Murray Favro at Christopher Cutts Gallery (21 Morrow), to April 27, opening Saturday (April 9). 416-532-5566. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
There are some unusual parallels between Michael Snow and Murray Favro . Both are respected Canadian artists who are also active musicians. Snow plays avant-jazz piano, among other instruments, while Favro plays his hand-built guitars with the legendary Nihilist Spasm Band.
In their art work, both of them are known for a wry conceptualism that subverts the act of perception with subterfuge and humour. When gallery director Christopher Cutts suggested that they show together, they welcomed the idea.
The exhibit currently in place is incomplete (two pieces are on their way) but still stunning. Snow's giant photo transparency, Powers Of Two, dominates the front room. A four-panelled, two-sided transparency of reclining lovers in an apartment, it plays effortlessly with notions of duality. The rooms are a CGI-modified set, giving the serene, warm scene an eerie, unsettling polish.
It's an endlessly watchable film still in which artifice highlights the double-edged experience of the image as object.
Favro's sculptural piece reconstructs a snow-covered window sill bathed in projected light and protruding in three dimensions. Its hyper-realism results in a heightened sense of visual dislocation.
At first glance, it could be a photo or film, but then the 3-D kicks in. The snow on the sill, however, is obviously plaster, a joking reference to the idea of process and sculpture. It's a concrete reminder of how art is forever situated somewhere between reference, process and perception.
To see the show in its entirety and meet its two master polymaths, check out the second opening Saturday (April 9).