Do Not Pass Go: Melanie MacDonald opening tonight
Here's some fun for a freezing-cold Thursday: Melanie MacDonald's "Do Not Pass Go" opens tonight at 1142 Queen West. A suite of hyper-real paintings depicting board games -- and Monopoly in particular -- in extreme close-up, MacDonald's board's-eye view gives these familiar amusements an arresting sense of formalist gravity; a gifted renderer of light, MacDonald's painterly skill embues these banal pastimes with an eerie sense of contained menace -- a gift she's used on other oddly unremarkable forms as well. A standout is her series of portraits of realtors, painted from the thumbnail-sized snapshots that show up in mailbox flyers.
Anyway, maybe it's the bubbling up of raw childhood competitiveness, maybe it's nostalgia or maybe I'm just agape at the text embossed on the thimble -- I was always the thimble; I had no idea -- but something about these scenes unnerve, in the best possible way, like a not-quite-recalled memory, vexing in its haziness. Only until Dec. 22, at an oddly vacant space next to the Drake (MacDonald, from St. Catharines, is represented by the A.K. Collings Gallery in Port Hope). I'm guessing it's a quick-hit opportunity to give MacDonald some much-deserved big city exposure. My wild guess: It'll go over nicely.
Also tonight at Susan Hobbs is the first-ever commercial gallery show for Krista Buecking. Buecking, all of 27 years old, shows here a collection of charcoal-etched diptychs; a crumbling brick is paired with a disembodied song lyric. You might recall Buecking's Proposal for Ruins series, in which she drafted various icons of Modernist architecture (like Le Corbusier's Villa Savoy) in advanced states of tumble-down decay. That was easy enough to read, from a post-utopic point of view; this new series seems to me to need a closer look, which I'll give it as soon as I can.
Oh -- not to forget Mercer Union's Solid Gold annual member show and sale, starting in about 8 minutes. Dozens of works by artists like Margaux Williamson, Corwyn Lund, Katie Bethune-Leamen and Roula Partheniou, all priced at $149.99. A bargain, and for a good cause -- Mercer's continued survival. Win win.