Starting May 1, the month-long Contact Photography Festival features more than 500 artists at hundreds of local venues. NOWs art writers deliver tips on what exhibits you wont want to miss. Check out upcoming issues for more picks.
1 Zoë Jaremus
Where/When: Part of Humanize at OCAD Student Gallery (285 Dundas West), to May 26. 416-977-6000.
What: Portraits of couples in their bedrooms capture them in their private zones. Their incredibly naked gazes range from the anxious to the harmonic, the confident to the innocent, showing love or indifference.
Why: Examining the inner tensions of long-term relationships, Zoë Jaremus questions if love equals happiness. Her show, In Your Bedroom, explores the hyper-complex construct of love and relationship through the secretive life of unspoken emotions expressed in the couples' body language.
Buzz: Although not yet a full-fledged professional, Jaremus is a remarkably mature talent from the Ontario College of Art and Design. Her courageous series challenges common notions of love with gumption and a clear-cut methodology, navigating a minefield of romantic clichés without stooping to easy solutions.
2 Karin Bubas
Where/When: Monte Clark (55 Mill, bldg 2), to May 27. 416-703-1700.
What: Studies In Landscape And Wardrobe offers huge, dramatic and hyper-real stills in the cinematic style of Hitchcock featuring lone heroines staring off into gorgeous landscapes.
Why: These pictures go beyond ordinary landscape in their incredible polish and attention to detail. Bubas amplifies her subjects and their surroundings to an epic level that invites you to dive into each image.
Buzz: Hitchcock's restraint and that of his leading ladies perfectly masked his films' powerful underlying tension. Bubas has latched on to this principle in every lush cinematic print.
3 Hideo Suzuki, Kamil Vojnar, Patrycja Orzechowska, Katyuska Doleatto, Hong-Chun Park
Where/When: Exhibitions at IndexG (48-50 Gladstone), to May 13 (Doleatto, Park, Suzuki run May 15-June 3). 416-535-6957.
What: The Sur(reality) show features five international artists with a penchant for constructed photographs heavy on eclectic symbolism and whimsy. In the same building there's a bonus group show, Birdsong, featuring 20 budding photographers selected by beloved Canadian professor Elaine Sharpe, and Louise Vezina's Hunter Gatherer Constructs, both to May 13.
Why: Photography as a constructed medium has always occupied a small and diverse bunch of artisans working against the photojournalistic grain. These five stretch the boundaries of photography as a medium and practice.
Buzz: This cutting-edge gallery is known not only for its curatorial eye but also for the 21st-century way it seamlessly blends East and West. (Sur)reality features photographers from the Czech Republic, South Korea, Japan, Poland and Toronto. Tokyo-based Hideo Suzuki has been garnering international attention with his carefully constructed and enigmatic still lifes that recall the best of Man Ray.
4 Janet Dawidowicz
Where/When: AWOL Gallery (76-78 Ossington), April 26 to May 6. 416-535-5637.
What: Birds, seashells and cages hover in austere black-and-white still lifes. Meticulously staged, the powerful symbolism of Stillscapes opens doors to ideas about time and the surreal.
Why: Walking a fine line, Janet Dawi-dowicz fuses the strange with the familiar. Her gracefully orchestrated scenes distill symbols from nature into spiritual experiences.
Buzz: The photographer's move to Canada after growing up in New York City has given her an altered perception of nature and a renewed artistic platform for her highly accomplished black-and-white gelatine silver prints. The Stillscapes series proves that Dawidowicz packs a powerful punch.