Witty, wild junk

Found materials add up to Nothing

NOTHING TO DECLARE at the Power Plant (231 Queens Quay West), to March 7. $6, stu/srs $3, free Wednesdays 5-8 pm. 416-973-4949. Rating: NNNN

Twelve Canadians who sculpt weird, witty, anti-monumental 3-D work from humble found materials come together in one room for Nothing To Declare, curated by Helena Reckitt. Except for Liz Magor, Valérie Blass and James Carl, all are 30-somethings.


Pieces by Magor (a cast raccoon carcass on a candy-strewn tabletop similar to those at her recent Doris McCarthy show) and Carl (a large torso-like Henry Moore-ish form made from basket-woven coloured blinds) have a certain established-artist gravitas, while Blass’s hairy figures, returning from their engagement at MOCCA, link them with the funky oeuvre of the younger sculptors. I especially enjoyed Blass’s untitled tower of shiny black vases and light bulbs set off by a Gothic elongated wooden hand giving the finger.

Junkmeister Kara Uzelman’s contraptions, recently seen in Red Bull 381’s Sitting Pretty show, continue her exploration of H.G. Wells’s Cavorite anti-gravity metal, my favourite her precarious Magnetic Stalactite of dangling kitchen utensils. Rhonda Weppler and Trevor Mahovsky, who also have a show on at Pari Nadimi, crudely paint bright colours on awkward yet evocative assemblages of assorted refuse.

Welcome newcomers include Kerri Reid, who lovingly memorializes discarded objects, producing a grid of 100 broken porcelain cups, along with vitrines containing piles of smashed porcelain that she carefully documents in meticulous drawings Brendan Tang, whose traditional Chinese blue and white ceramics are squeezed and deformed by modern machine-like elements and Tricia Middleton, who adorns a big garish ghost sitting on a pile of garbage with curls of ice-blue cloth batting and flashing video eyes.

Reckitt wisely forgoes wall text (info is available on handouts), underlining the playful, conceptual-baggage-free spirit of the work, which nicely contrasts with and complements Michael Snow’s videos of everyday events in the rest of the gallery.


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