BOOK OF LOVE at Spin Gallery (1100 Queen West, second floor), to February 18. 416-530-7656. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
The restrained and discreetly arranged pieces in Spin's new show, Book Of Love, address the theme of language and love, or text and eroticism. Its unusually subdued atmosphere seems right for a show devoted to different forms of reading.
The fine-grained attention of a reader is required to tease out the conceptual nuances and humour here.
You'd swear Eldon Garnet's terse aphorisms were forged out of steel, not aluminum - that's how weighty they seem. They could be fragments of a steamy conversation or a seduction gone ever so slightly awry.
Jubal Brown weighs in with a cinematic reading, a piece of masochistic camp video that's both hilarious and horrifying. Dressed in drag, he laughs and convulses in slow motion as he's subjected to a seemingly endless money shot. Together with the soundtrack, it's astonishingly effective in creating a dramatically grotesque effect.
Doug Beube's elegant piece, Ruffled Collar, presents the book as erotic sculpture. Crinkling the pages of a bright red dictionary to resemble an Elizabethan ruff on one side, he carves a suggestive oval passageway or orifice into its cover on the other. Beube playfully uses text to layer his work with subtle and smutty visual puns.
Other pieces use the artifacts of marriage to make a statement. Setting a wedding ring in the centre of a nested stack of fine china plates, Penny Dimos creates a perfect bull's eye. Bruno Billio places wedding rings on the viewing end of a pair of antique binoculars whose lenses are engraved with the words "prey" and "pray."
Text have often been used to constrain and contain the more feral elements of human passion. They can also lend it a voice. This show does both.