Home » Michael Snow Steals the Show: Power Plant, Toronto

Michael Snow Steals the Show: Power Plant, Toronto

Nothing to Declare: Current Sculpture from Canada
Recent Snow: Projected Works by Michael Snow
11 December, 2009 – 7 March, 2010
The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto

Michael Snow, still from SSHTOORRTY, 2005. Image: Arttorrents.com

We went to the Power Plant’s opening last night of two exhibitions. The first, a fairly simple display of new sculpture, gave us a mix of things, including two wonderful works by Victoria’s Luanne Martineau, whose work we love for its tactility and drama.  It looks like art history put through a blender but rendered in the ‘feminine’ technique of felting. It’s bold, strong and intriguing.

More images and thoughts on what we didn’t like in the show, below..

Luanne Martineau, Dangler, 2008. Image: jessicabradleyartprojects.com

We also loved James Carl’s piece, which we believe is made from venetian blinds. Word has it that we’ll be seeing more of James Carl’s work around Toronto shortly…(We’ve been forbidden to say more!) but for now the piece in the Power Plant show is fantastic. Its material, form and transparency really define the space around it.

James Carl, jalousie (bananier), 2008. Image: akimbo.ca

Unfortunately, we thought Kerri Reid’s installation was weak. Though we really like her dust drawings, which we’ve blogged about HERE, the ceramic cups on display at the Power Plant – while graphically appealing – didn’t suggest the same level of fragility, and therefore – in our opinion – didn’t succeed.

Liz Magor’s uncanny, hyperreal sculpture is wonderful, though we’ve seen it look better. Her work looks better in relation to other things, when it’s really well curated into an environment.

We were surprised and delighted to see Brendan Tang’s ceramics included in the show. We briefly blogged about his show in Ottawa HERE, and have been curious about his work ever since.

A work by Kamloops, BC artist Brendan Tang. Image: oneinchpunch.net

As nice as the sculpture was, it was Michael Snow’s new work that really stole the show. At 81 years old, he is still making excellent, thought-provoking work, and it’s well worth making your way to Harbourfront to see it.

A still from one of Michael Snow’s recent works in the exhibition. Image: ratsdeville.com

DID YOU KNOW? In 2004 the Sorbonne in Paris awarded him an honorary doctorate; the last artist to receive this award was Pablo Picasso.

Snow proves how art can be made from simple gestures, if they are well thought out. By juxtaposing language, or conflating scenes from a short film so that they fade in and out from one another, or speeding up the camera, or disrupting the flat screen surface, these small experiments say so much.

As the Power Plant release says: “Snow’s video projections manipulate the space between the moments of recording and of reception, the surface of the world and the surface of the screen to stage the dynamic play between a video camera and material reality. Snow uses the camera as an instrument capable of shaping and altering what is pointed toward: in his hands, realism becomes far from realistic and the familiar takes us by surprise.”

Best was a work called The Corner of Braque and Picasso Streets (2009), which projects a live video feed of traffic on Queens Quay West, a walk that most gallery visitors will take on their way out to catch the streetcar, or a cab. The video projects onto a cubist relief composed of rectangular plinths on the gallery wall that pulls the viewer’s eye in and out from the image, succeeding because the image pushes the viewer into very near future, and the boxes pull us away from that trajectory.

Visit the Power Plant Gallery website HERE.

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