Despite the fact that Kensington Market is one of the most creative neighbourhoods in the entire city a good art gallery has never really been able to set up shop in the neighbourhood until rental gallery/shop/concert venue Xpace came along.
So Torontoist was pleasantly surprised to see that the graduating students of U of T’s Visual Arts program had turned an empty packing plant at 250 Augusta Avenue into a space for their group show. The high-ceilinged, industrial space makes for a rough but exciting gallery space despite the fishy smell still in the air and insulation poking out of some of the walls. The show which runs until Saturday has some enjoyable work and the students used their improvised gallery space quite effectively.
David Chang’s “Camouflage in Cotton Candy Pink” (shown below) is a floor to ceiling installation that mashes up sweetly cotton candy pink silhouettes with some rather dark and sinister imagery. In one corner a little boy is getting strangled, at the centre of the piece a hooded man is kneeling for what looks like a deathblow for another. The images resemble graffiti which would’ve looked appropriate in the warehouse space but their delicate beauty makes for an interesting and entertaining contrast.
Gabriel Graham’s untitled painting of airline passengers mocks the safety brochures you’re asked to examine on airline flights, but look closely and you’ll see some dark touches. What’s that baby doing with a pen knife? Are those body builders in row three? Why is that woman clutching a paper bag? We’re never quite sure and you can’t help but laugh at what should be a scene of obvious terror.
There’s plenty of other good work here. Rose Chang’s “Uninvited Guests” touches on themes of terror, domesticity. While April Walsh’s “Archive” are a series of beautiful Joseph Cornell inspired boxes. She could’ve left out the text labels, and left the significance of the box’s contents a mystery. That would’ve made given her work’s exploration of nostalgia and memory a defter touch.
Once you’re finished at Markit make sure you swing by Xpace for the very excellent Boy’s Club show. And if you’re interested in seeing how the art students from that other university are doing (no, not OCAD) be sure to check out This is a recording, a juried show of York U visual arts students, running at Gallery 1313 (1313 Queen West).