Working mostly in film, video and performance, Laurel Woodcock uses deadpan minimalism to examine the vernacular of popular culture and everyday life. In Game, she paired the death throes of a bottled fly with a monologue by HAL in Stanley Kubrick's 2001 to create a succinct and eerie parable of technology, nature and death. In this show, she explores process and expectation by building a house of cards. October 23 to November 27, at Gallery TPW (80 Spadina, #310, 416-504-4242).
Prolific painter Balint Zsako has a formidable bag of tricks. His work welds the blunt force of Art Brut to a darkly humorous surrealism. In this exhibit he focuses on heads - specifically, just how distorted they can get yet remain recognizable. October 1 to 31 at Spin Gallery (1100 Queen West, second floor, 416-530-7656).
Amadeo Modigliani 's canvases radiate a unique warmth and depth of colour. Modigliani: Beyond The Myth focuses on his portraiture, attempting to get past the popular myth of the dissolute bohemian genius who died too young. Instead, the exhibit explores the influence of his Sephardic Jewish background on his iconic work. Don't miss it. October 23 to January 23, at the Art Gallery of Ontario (317 Dundas West, 416 979-6648).
Before his untimely death in 2000, Mark Lombardi made large maps of irregular financial transactions among power brokers, industry and their often silent partners in government. They are so complex and detailed that the FBI and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security have begun to study them. Working from press sources and books, Lombardi started by charting a single takeover, bank failure or financial scandal, then connected all the names involved with a series of dots, dashes and arrows. Often taking up an entire wall, Lombardi's drawings have the cool and pleasing look of celestial maps, but the names and arrows tell a much more complex and sinister story. The AGO has compiled a show of his work, Global Networks, on view until December 5.
When 90s kids in the streets of Harajuku, Tokyo, began to mix and match their outfits, often to outrageous effect, Shoichi Aoki was ready with his camera. He soon published a fanzine, FRUiTS, which later turned into a collection of photos and a book. This series of pared-down, head-on portraits allows the crazily kinetic outfits to speak for themselves. Kilts, frilly lace bloomers, camouflage, kimonos and ammo belts get layered with designer labels while hair continues to defy the colour spectrum and gravity in novel ways. See where the catwalk gets its claws into the creative fashion frontier. Opens in December at the Edward Day Gallery (952 Queen West, 416-921-6540).
Milky, lustrous, of the sea - pearls have a legendary appeal, and the Royal Ontario Museum hopes to tap into it. Pearls: A Natural History , organized by the American Museum of Natural History in collaboration with Chicago's Field Museum, features more than 600 spectacular objects, including nearly a half a million individual pearls. Among the treasures are a piece called the Sultane Necklace designed by Cartier in the 1930s, 50-million-year-old fossil pearls, a replica of a 14.5-pound pearl and jewels worn by famous names from Queen Victoria to Marilyn Monroe. To January 9. (100 Queen's Park, 416-586-5549.) firstname.lastname@example.org