>>> Tires, cars, decay

Fry Guy, with works by Davida Nemeroff and Patrick Walsh, probes a dying America

DAVIDA NEMEROFF + JPW3 at Cooper Cole Gallery (1134 Dupont) to October 31. 416-531-8000. See listing. Rating: NNNN

Two Los Angeles artists join forces in Fry Guy, a show that makes Cooper Cole’s new digs on Dupont look more like an abandoned space than a gallery.

Davida Nemeroff uses photographs to probe urban dislocation in a decaying America. Her images, often blurred and shot at a cantered angle, radiate an undertone of urban disquiet and displacement.

She’s teamed up here with Patrick Walsh, also known as JPW3, who has his own take on a changing U.S., fusing post-painterly abstraction with pop. 

At first glance, the show resembles an auto wrecking yard run by mad Situationists. A symbolic language is at work, most of it involving the icons of urban sprawl: car tires, car parts, rust and debris.

Wavy Gravy, Nemeroff’s large photo of an American flag billboard, inkjet printed on foam board, appears to blacken and drip along with the landscape behind it. It’s propped up by two automobile tires, as are her prints called Beast Of Burden, which feature a white horse nibbling at a parched field. In some works the pastoral meets industrial decay, with fleeting moments of humanity and whimsy. Her Sonny CC, a photo of a truck’s rubber mud flap, has a barely perceptible face drawn with a fingertip on its dusty surface. 

In the centre of the space is JPW3’s cryptic sculptural assemblage Spoiler Furnace, which features a hatchback door leaning against a pile of rubber tires to form a small structure. A Bob LED light (featuring a simulated flame) hangs behind the door, and behind are suspended, disturbingly, doll heads. 

Viewing the works together, we feel like we’ve stumbled onto some neglected California back yard where the raw materials of urban decay have been transmuted into a stripped-down meditation on to abjection and longing.


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