Volume 92, Issue 89

Wednesday, March 17, 1999


Digitizing the medium called art

Deep End of the Ocean ends up shallow

Artlab depicts transparencies of art and life

Cultures Join hands and dance across the Pacific

Carrie 2: teen slasher sequel doesn't cut it

Opting for procrastination

Artlab depicts transparencies of art and life

©Dipesh Mistry/Gazette

WELL, INTERIOR DESIGN MAY NOT BE YOUR STRONG SUIT. Trans, curated by Catherine Thomas is on display at the John Labatt Visual Art Centre Artlab until Friday afternoon.

By Christina Vardanis
Gazette Staff

Curator Catherine Thomas has declared trans, the current exhibition at The John Labatt Visual Arts Centre Artlab, a process of investigation rather than demonstration. However, it can't be denied trans depicts a solid picture of our society – one which breaks through the walls of the gallery and injects a shot of artistic awareness into human societal existence.

The exhibit features the diverse works of five artists who examine the psychology of art which coincides with the psychology of personal interaction. Kika Thorne and Adrian Blackwell collaborated to produce "One to One Over One to Three Hundred," a piece which recreates the artists' studio and sets it in a certain place and time.

They mounted cameras in their studio apartment which recorded their every move – from making dinner to having sex. The film images are transferred to slides, which are projected from the ceiling of a constructed room within the gallery.

The viewer enters this room to find the series of images appearing on the floor, layered on top of one another and constantly changing. The room has been constructed with dimensions which correspond in a 1:1 ratio with the actual living space recorded. In effect, the viewer is transported into the artists' home and work area – included in every one of their daily activities. The human form is studied not only for its fundamental beauty, but the beauty in its social action.

In a separate exhibit, curator, writer and studio artist Luis Jacob's work lines the walls of the Artlab with "Untitled, (A.F.S. Minutes)," which displays clips of meetings at the Anarchist Free School of Toronto in a series of frames. It illustrates how common interests between people who are initially strangers can grow into collective inspiration. By framing all the papers in identical frames and mattes, Jacob emphasizes the little idiosyncrasies of the individual note-takers, which in turn makes the details of their writing and organizational styles part of the artistic impression.

A television and a bench inhabits another corner of the gallery, with a series of names running in credit fashion down the screen. Daniel Olson has documented the name of everyone he can remember meeting in his entire life and incorporated them into his work, "Credits."

There is no indication of how these names affected Olson directly, yet the piece functions as a record of his life. This project is being constantly updated as Olson continues meeting others. Its silence creates a peaceful atmosphere in which one can sit and vaguely recognize names which flash by, connecting themselves with the artist through the function of acquaintances.

Germaine Koh's "Change" literally puts art in circulation outside of the Artlab. She engraves small metal discs with the words "bien" or "bon." The tokens are distributed to viewers throughout the gallery in return for good acts. The receivers can then pass on the tokens to others. Truly extending art from the studio to society, Koh's exhibit adds a touch of conceptuality to the installation.

This show succeeds in bringing a living culture into the Artlab, while at the same time setting it loose from the confines of the gallery walls.

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