Wednesday 23 April 2008

Simon Starling @ The PowerPlant

One of the things I looked forward to most on my trip was the Simon Starling show at The PowerPlant in Toronto (headed by ex-GBAG director Greg Burke).

The show didn't disappoint. As a whole, it had quite a stern, elegant feel - large works spaciously displayed. Even works that weren't big felt like they were - especially Infestation Piece (Musselled Moore), the show's central focus: weighty, tactile, affecting whether you knew the art historical and social backstory or not.

Starling's work in the flesh reminds me a lot of Michael Stevenson - the intently researched, deeply idiosyncratic, beautifully produced aspects of Stevenson's way of working. I'm never sure about the humour in Stevenson's work though (is it there? is it there for us, or for him? should I find any of this funny? it is funny though, isn't it? isn't it?) but I like the absurdist tinge of Starling's earnestness, best exemplified in this show by Autoxylopyrocycloboros, 2006, the slide show that records Starling and a helper slowly destroying the small boat they are floating in by feeding it piece by piece into a woodburner.

The only disappointment was the resounding quietness of the galleries - admittedly, it was mid afternoon on a weekday, but I did wonder if the locals feel the love for this GBAG in the big smoke.

Images from the PowerPlant website
Above: Infestation Piece (Musselled Moore) 2007
Below: Autoxylopyrocycloboros 2006

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