Looking for Dick at Open Studio (468 King West) to July 20. 416-504-8238. Rating: NNNof all the people and things the Looking For Dick show could be referencing, the Dick in question is actually Philip K., famed science fiction writer. This mind-expanding show coincides with the release of Minority Report, a Hollywood movie that can't make the same claim though it's based on a Dick short story.
A master of the science fiction, Dick used the future as a vehicle to expose the present. Like the works in this show, his novels entertain even as they thumb the fabric of society to expose the threadbare parts. Dick made us apprehensive about surveillance à la Big Brother and replication à la Dolly the sheep long before scientists and the government got around to them.
Looking For Dick, curated by Toronto art veteran Carla Garnet, focuses on replication. There are layers to this theme. Open Studio is the city's major printmaking studio. Prints, by definition, are replications . Here, Garnet expands the definition of "print" well beyond the traditional pressing of ink onto paper. Our futuristic art world has spawned all manner of reproduction techniques that lend themselves to multiples, like video, audio and photography.
The wide range of media on display reveals a futuristic and unnerving world. Viet H. Le's engaging staged photos are windows into domestic scenes where all does not feel right. Shinobu Akimoto's alluring work focuses on Big Sister Martha Stewart and her conquest tour of Japan. Akimoto has collected a Martha Stewart Everyday membership card and displays it in conjunction with looped audio from a Japanese radio program on Martha.
Patrick DeCoste has soiled copper leaf with his body and urine, creating, surprisingly, a thing of beauty. Shawn Bailey covers a wall with 52 capsule-filled pillboxes, exposing in a very blunt manner our increasing reliance on pharmaceuticals, while Shannon Griffiths's hallucinogenic TV-screen grabs reveal altered states.
Don't bother trying to find Dick here. The references are loose enough, and the work, though solid, is paranoia-inducing in its cluttered delivery. That's probably firstname.lastname@example.org
BY THOMAS HIRSCHMANN
NOW MAGAZINE JULY 11, 2002