In the coming months, a handful of young Canadian artists are storming American galleries with solo shows.
First up is Toronto artist Nicholas Di Genova’s exhibition, “Chimera“, at his New York gallery, Fredericks & Freiser, on now until March 13. The exhibition’s title refers to the Greek mythological creature born of disparate genetic compositions; a fitting title since Di Genova’s menagerie consists of creatures displaying a range of plant, animal and, sometimes, machine origins. While the gallery’s press release says that there’s “almost nothing” to be gleaned from Di Genova’s creatures except the artist’s intricately detailed and truly amazing drawing skills, we beg to differ. Looking at a roomful of Di Genova’s creatures, and realizing that people are lacking from the artist’s future world, you sense an underlying warning that, in the struggle between Humanity and Nature, the latter is going to win.
Also in New York, opening on February 13 (to March 13) at Joshua Liner Gallery , are new works by Tristram Lansdowne. Currently based in Toronto, Lansdowne’s beautifully rendered watercolour paintings of derelict industrial structures juxapose the idealized early-20th Century view of industry with today’s more pessimistic view of “progress”. Lansdowne often depicts these structures floating in the middle of the sheets of paper on which they’re painted, with stray water pipes or support beams jutting out from the bottoms of the buildings. It’s as if the buildings have been ripped from the ground, like plants, and pinned like specimens to the paper.
Meanwhile, over on the East Coast, the Brooklyn-based Canadian artist Balint Zsako has his first solo show at the Los Angeles outpost of Katharine Mulherin Contemporary Art Projects until March 7. Zsako works in a wide range of media, including photography, sculpture, and collage, but this show, titled “Play Dead, Look Alive”, features a recent suite of watercolours. With these paintings, Zsako attempts to distill as many disparate aspects of contemporary art into works on paper as possible. Everything from the physical theatre of Performance Art, the process-based nature of Land Art, to the meticulous balance of Geometric Abstraction is referenced. But just as importantly, sex, mythology, bodily functions and primitive narratives are the themes that animate these works. The dark and complex scenarios depicted in Zsako‘s work is tempered by his lively bright colour palette and the meticulous detail in which they are painted.