Monica Tap at Wynick/Tuck Gallery
$5,800-$10,800. Until May 1, 401 Richmond St. W., Suite 128, Toronto; 416-504-8716, www.wynicktuckgallery.ca
Monica Tap, whose exhibition of new paintings at Toronto's Wynick/Tuck Gallery is titled Here and also elsewhere, sent me a charming e-mail a few days ago, which helps to locate her opulently painted landscapes in what appears to be the mad rush of their passing us by - even as we stand still gazing upon them.
"The dictionary definition for 'spring,'" writes Tap, "indicates that it is the season that falls 'between winter and summer.' Look up summer and the dictionary will direct you helpfully to the season 'between spring and fall.' Given that my paintings are based on roadside video captures, the exact spot I end up painting is impossible to locate. It's a tiny fragment of a second somewhere between here and there."
Four of seven paintings making up her exhibition have the word "between" in their titles ( Between fall and spring, Between winter and summer and so on, wheeling right on around the seasons).
The "roadside video capture" of which she writes is a reference to the fact that Tap bases her paintings not on sketches or still photographs, but rather on the 30-second, low-resolution video clips she harvests from her digital camera while travelling in cars and on trains and buses.
She first began working this way five years ago. Back then I was writing about Tap and thinking about whether or not painting could adequately deal with time-based media. The Futurists and the Cubists tried it early in the last century, and came up with something else instead. Still photographers tried it and mostly decided time was better left to the movies. Even the Impressionists tried it - think of Monet's sequential attempts to track the movement of the light across the facade of Rouen Cathedral.
With Tap, you do get the rush and tumble of things, the feeling of time before and time after. In the painting titled Between summer and winter, for example, the vertical thrusting of the violet trees, the warp of the trees, you might say, is interwoven with the woof of their creamy orange foliage, as it sweeps horizontally by us. The foliage is fast. The tree trunks are slower.
And there is another kind of in-between, here-and-there-ness informing these headlong paintings. "The title of the show, Here and also elsewhere," writes Tap, "seemed simultaneously precise and open in a way I hope the paintings are. … It made me think of the 'here' of the studio as I paint and the 'elsewhere' contained in the image I paint from." It also hints, as she points out, at how a digital image, with its endless imagistic information being simultaneously everywhere and nowhere, can also be "here and also elsewhere all at once."
The stillest painting in the exhibition, it should be noted - a quiet reflecting pond in the woods - is called Missing, a sad and loving reference to the late Gerald Ferguson, who, during the late 1980s, was Tap's teacher at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, and remained a mentor for her until his death last Oct. 8.
Kelly Jazvac at Diaz Contemporary
$800-$3,600. Until May 15, 100 Niagara St., Toronto; 416-361-2972, www.diazcontemporary.ca
Kelly Jazvac's exhibition of new vinyl works - mostly wall works with a couple of small, floor-hugging pieces - feels almost ridiculously refreshing, given the grotty, abject slices of wrinkled, distressed "salvaged adhesive vinyl" she cobbles together with thumbtacks, grommets and adhesive tape.
Like Robert Rauschenberg - one thinks of his outlandishly exquisite Cardboards from 1971-72 - the dumber the materials she uses, the more lyrical she gets. In a work such as Butterscotch, for example, Jazvac assembles eccentrically shaped pieces of vinyl sheet in a variety of browns, creams and whites (with only one perfectly placed shard of wrinkly mustard yellow) so that, in the end, the work does everything an orthodox abstract painting does - but does it with a bracing blatancy that both condescends to and spiritedly transcends the idea of agreeable "composition" in modernist art.
In her cheeky, arte povera essay in shiny, puckered blues and violets, simply called Pat (the person or the action?), the continent-shaped wall-structure - with its upper edge drooping in two places like a dog's ears - has so much pictorial vitality, you cheerfully overlook the fact that, out of a gallery-context, the work might look like flattened garbage bags fixed to the wall. And Cache easily passes for a green-white mountain-scape, which, if you blur your eyes, might be a second cousin, a poor relation, to a Lawren Harris. All in all, Jazvac's work is informed and intelligent to the point of absurdity, and filled with an irreverence that is always the hallmark of high seriousness.
Peter MacCallum at Toronto Image Works Closes today, 80 Spadina Ave., Suite 207, Toronto; 416-703-1999, www.torontoimageworks.com
In positioning his project - the documenting, in black-and-white photographs, of the Yonge Street commercial corridor from Bloor Street south to King Street - MacCallum quotes judiciously from legendary photographer Walker Evans, who once noted that he was "interested in what any present time will look like as the past."
MacCallum is well-known for his superbly controlled, pearlescent work in black-and-white photography and has striven for that sense of all-over "even lighting" here as well (achieved "by photographing later into the evening on clear summer days"). The resulting softness of MacCallum's streetscapes is both attractive and disconcerting. One thinks of a city as raucous and edgy. MacCallum has made it as silvery as a dream.