Winnipeg is hot. It sounds like a strange thing to say about a city that claims to have the coldest intersection in Canada, but the Peg's burgeoning art scene is exactly that. Just look at Simon Hughes's work to discover why.His architectural watercolours seem at first to reveal a Canada that exists only in the minds of the most ignorant of our neighbours to the south. There are high-rises made from logs and multi-storey ice-fishing cabins.
It snows inside houses where seals frolic in swimming pools, and there are flurries inside Florida condos made for our Snow Birds. Hughes's unrealized architectural designs are strictly log cabin meets the modular Lego forms of Habitat 67.
To complete the stereotype, he uses stickers of native Canadians to create inhabitants for his buildings.
But Hughes is also critical of Canadian culture. In Downtown Business Improvement Project, cameras survey a derelict area as a gang of rogue beavers litters the street with upturned garbage cans and gnawed branches. In Hastily Built Sound Stage, Vancouver, BC, a movie studio is full of native people filming stories about natives from other countries.
Then there's the top-secret government facility with an anti-gravity dome used for studying snow. Another painting shows an art museum -- full of wildlife art and some abstract stuff by long-dead artists -- with a hockey arena on the top floor. Stereotypes do come from somewhere, says Hughes here -- snow, hockey and the Group of Seven continue to define our culture in many ways.
Presented by the Winnipeg-based but nomadic Other Gallery in collaboration with Toronto's Revolver Contemporary, this show proves you can make intelligent and fun art about Canada.
And you can do it without painting a email@example.com
Simon Hughes at the Other Revolver (112 Scollard) to November 23. 416-963-3131. Rating: NNNN