by Gary Michael Dault
Not the least clever thing about this clever group show (as quirky and memorable as the Plymouth Volare which seems to have become its rolling muse) is the way its 12 artists have taken over a large suite in a faceless Toronto office building and made deadpan use of the name-slots on the doors ("Mr. J. Dickson," proclaims artist John Dickson's office door) and incorporated the building's soul-destroying low ceilings and flat oppressive lighting into their installations. There isn't space here to give proper due to all these accomplished practitioners, but the show's highlights include John Dickson's Dirty Water, an old claw foot bathtub filled with leaden grey-blue water so impure it looks solid and which, when you stand gazing impassively into its impenetrable depths, starts to boil and bubble. And Lisa Neighbour's ruined kitchen, where once was a wall of coffee mugs (each labelled with a number and name from the periodic table of elements) has been reduced to a gritty chaos of fragments, as if somebody went hog-wild with a rifle. And Brian Hobb's Pressure , a lengthy strip of white paper which, having been fed through a letterpress, now bears, over and over, the embossed message "Pressure was brought to bear on John to make him do better work." Fine, complex work, too, from Lorna Mills, Reid Diamond, Michael Davey, David Acheson, Carlo Cesta, Kate Wilson, Chantal Rousseau, Johannes Zits, and Rebecca Diederichs.