BEST OF THE TORONTO OUTDOOR ART EXHIBITION at First Canadian Place (100 King West), through February 18, Monday to Friday 11 am to 2 pm. 416-624-1499. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
Stepping quietly around the audience in the First Canadian Place Gallery for a sales presentation about packaged holiday tours, I found the winning works from last year's Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition.
Doing double duty, the Bay Street gallery frequently houses these public pitches during the three hours it's open each day, so be prepared to tiptoe and whisper. (Weird.)
Among the 19 juried categories, talented fourth-year OCAD photographer Jesse Boles nabbed an award with his long exposures of the still, watery fringes and eerie lights of Cherry Beach, where nature and industry decay together. It's no surprise to see his work everywhere these days.
Heather Goodchild blows open the fibre category with two enchanted forest scenes of big rabbits and little girls in antique curio cabinets. The presentation makes 19th-century specimens of the expressive characters within, channelling a Lewis Carrollesque opium dream into the materials of his day.
Scott Griffin burns a scene of summer fun into a rusty sheet of scrap metal. Three figures play by a swimming pool while another 12 leap around. Wielding nothing but a blue flame, Griffin communicates an incredible amount of expression in torched steel, turning trash into treasure.
Riffing off his successful merchandise-as-art scheme, Sandy Plotnikoff wins an award of excellence for putting little magnets covered in little icons (of skulls, apples, aliens, etc) in matching little baggies, and putting those on the wall. Gracefully straddling crass commercialism and artistic integrity, he queries both.
And the TOAE's best of show goes to Sarah Troper 's Constructo jewellery. Each DIY jewellery-building kit includes steel and silver bits and bolts, dainty little wrenches and screwdrivers and instructions to build crude rings and necklaces that mock the shapes of priceless jewels.