More CONTACT Photo fest 2015 must-sees

Through May, critics' picks tip the mammoth fest's must-see shows


PAST PICTURE: Photography And The Chemistry of Intention MOCCA (952 Queen West), to May 31. 416-395-0067.

The relationship of authorial intention to photography has become, since the digital revolution, more tenuous than ever. So very interesting, then, to see that the tension between photographer and photograph has existed from the art form’s very beginning. In the simpler analog days, the choice of angle, lighting, composition and moment still brought the authorial frame into play. Photographs, it turns out, are no more independent of their authors than paintings. These images from the National Gallery’s collection by prominent innovators – among them László Moholy-Nagy, Paul Strand and Charles Nègre – as well as some intriguing anonymous artists cover 150 years of photographic history.

David Jager

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Dan Bergeron evinces Jacob Sukhra in his Faces Of Regent Park exhibition.

DAN BERGERON:  Faces Of Regent Park Daniels Spectrum (585 Dundas East), to June 28. 416-238-2453 ext 105.

Daniels Spectrum, a community cultural hub that opened in 2012 as part of Regent Park’s renaissance, hosts Bergeron’s mixed-media portraits, which use an urban muralist’s sensibility to capture 12 local residents in images that fuse bold colour, punchy text and visual sizzle.   DJ

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Josée Pedneault and Alejandro Garcia Contreras photograph Easter revellers in a Chiapas village. 

ALEJANDRO GARCIA CONTRERAS AND JOSÉE PEDNEAULT: The New Gods Typology Projects (180 Shaw), to June 14. 647-930-6930.

Quebec’s Pedneault and Mexico’s Garcia Contreras document Easter celebrations in the isolated Chiapas village of Carrillo Puerto. Townspeople drawing on aboriginal and popular culture and current events craft weird, colourful, inventive costumes from ordinary materials and don blank-faced masks in a carnivalesque subversion of the traditional Catholic religious procession. Garcia Contreras’s small, expressive paintings and ceramic figurines depicting the revellers, plus a fantastic helmet cleverly constructed from multicoloured drinking straws, complement photos of them standing against village walls.

Fran Schechter

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Early photographic techniques give Curtis Wehrfritz’s LostCanoe #10 a painterly quality.

CURTIS WEHRFRITZ: Lost Canoe Alison Milne Gallery (198 Walnut), to June 6. 416-203-6266.

Nineteenth-century photographic techniques – wet collodion and daguerreotype – lend a painterly, atmospheric quality to music video director/photographer Wehrfritz’s watery woodland landscapes in which empty canoes have been set adrift.   FS

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