Self Absorption And Theatricality In The Age Of Mechanical Reproduction: Marc Couroux, Ryan Foerster, Bruce LaBruce, Jimmy Limit, Davida Nemeroff, Kyle Tryhorn
Where/When: Drake Hotel (1150 Queen West), to May 31. 416-531-5042 ext 230.
What: Decking the halls and stairwells in the Drake, works by six talented artists with disparate styles display a common sense of humour and gusto for genre-busting.
Why: LaBruce's staged car crash with Prada-shoe-wearing dead girl is morbidly lovely. Nemeroff dresses up friends, who pose as famous people like Patti Smith and Richard Pryor, with a refreshing lack of concern for the models' gender. Jimmy Limit's shot George Bush's Limo Driving By My Home In Halifax resonates as a comment on the bizarre nature of global power.
Buzz: The Drake's panic-tinged need to be hip and/or edgy makes the show feel showy, but these images would be worth seeing wherever they hung.
David Barker Maltby
Where/When: Justina M. Barnicke Gallery (7 Hart House Circle, University of Toronto), to May 11. 416-978-8398.
What: Fifty-odd beautiful black-and-white photographs documenting the plight of Toronto's homeless, the violence of June 2000's OCAP demonstration at Queen's Park and the protest at the Quebec City Summit of the Americas in 2001.
Why: Through his genuine concern for the transient folks he photographed, Maltby learned to see the city through their eyes. His dedication and the trust it earned allow us a rare, intimate brush with people we're all too willing to forget.
Buzz: Shooting for NOW and other publications, Maltby spent nearly half his short life drawing attention to important social issues with his affecting imagery. Five years after he succumbed to bacterial meningitis at 39, his work still reminds us that social justice requires vigilance.
Toni Hafkenscheid and Howard Simkins
Where/When: Birch Libralato Gallery (129 Tecumseth), to May 27. 416-365-3003.
What: Photos of famous life-size monuments and tourist destinations that somehow read as tiny architectural scale models or toys. Shots of architectural details and textures from local buildings are cut apart and resassembled into pleasant semi-abstract tableaux.
p>Why: Hafkenscheid’s photos expertly confound our notions about what’s monumental and what’s miniature, forcing us to examine our ideas of scale and weight. Simkins’s work is about the pleasures to be found in the details of place that we overlook in our daily lives. Buzz: Hafkensheid’s images are downright spooky in the way they confuse our ideas of scale, and Simkins’s deconstructed reconstructions invite open-ended readings. If retooling perception is your thing, this show will get you noticing your urban environment in novel ways.
Where/When: Monte Clark Gallery (Distillery District, 55 Mill, Bldg 2), to May 28; reception May 11, 6-8 pm. 416-703-1700.
What: Prize Winning Photograph show puns around conceptually with the idea of a winning photograph. Some images hinge on unbelievable luck.
Why: Photographer of the much acclaimed Vancouver Apartments series, Gergley has a razor-sharp, eclectic eye and an encyclopedic knowledge of photographic history. His work captures surprising and thoughtful moments and contributes to the language of photography.
Buzz: Imagine turning the corner of a quiet street at dusk to see a house whose upper storey is in flames, or spotting a lone hare bounding across an airport runway. Because Gergley never goes anywhere without his camera, we don’t have to imagine these things.