Dean Drever: (Insert Favourite Bear Pun Here, ie. "Essential Bears") at the Toronto Sculpture Garden
The only real gripe I can have with the Toronto Sculpture Garden is that it only changes installations twice a year. They've been on a hell of a good run for most of the decade, with work from Micah Lexier to Euan MacDonald to Luis Jacob to Jennifer Marman and Daniel Borins to Katie Bethune-Leaman to the most recent closure, Instant Coffee's surreally super-cool Disco Fallout Shelter, which you can't help but love.
Speaking of which, what's not to adore about Dean Drever's "Bear Hunt," which appeared in the garden, on King East, a couple of weeks ago? Drever had a minor hit at MKG127 with his show "Bear Minimum" (hence my headline), which featured bright yellow bear sculptures not unlike the above in the tight gallery space. But out here in the world, the work takes on a new kind of life in context.
Drever's background is Haida, west coast First Nations, and the bear is a potent symbol for his culture -- a supreme force of nature, imbued with mystic power. Drever's urban bears, though, appear to have met their match. Rendered in decidedly unnatural day-glo orange, they lope into the cold embace of a concrete wall. In contact with uncaring urbanity, do they melt and pool into the garden's tidy patch of grass? Or are they passing through it to a more forgiving plane? Either way, it's an electric scene loaded with an old debate -- humanity's estrangement from the natural world -- presented in a gloriously eye-candy kind of way. Not to be missed. Don't worry -- you have until April 10.