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Terence Dick
Goodwater at G Gallery
June 11, 2013

Perhaps I was showing my age, but at a recent gathering of recent MFA graduates (my wife was one of them) I wondered aloud if and where the next generation of artists (the young twenty-somethings still in or just out of school) were showing their work. I was specifically interested in whether they were setting up their own exhibition spaces like Art System and West Wing from a decade ago that served just as much as social-cultural incubators as places to hang art. I wasn't talking about commercial galleries (there are always entrepreneurial young gallerists on the go) or artist-run centres (God knows how to set one of those up these days), but the anomalous, somewhat anarchic zones where commercial interests take a back seat to the creative spirit and the venue itself functions as a work in progress.

Moyra Davey, Bottle Grid, 1996-2000

I have a feeling that places like Double Double Land or Tomorrow Gallery are doing that sort of thing at present, but since my nightlife activities have been drastically curtailed, I am not privy to that world any longer, which is fine by me as there is no need for a critic at a party. The remains and documents and resulting careers are of interest, though, so it was fascinating to explore them at a scene from my past. Run by Toronto art stalwarts John Goodwin and Roger Bywater in various locations over the years, Goodwater was more art lab than dance club, but, particularly when it set up shop at Palmerstone and Dundas at a time when that was nowheresville, it was a place where exciting things happened and had an international reach (Jeremy Deller and Mark Dion exhibited there) that telegraphed its ambitions.

Now on view at G Gallery, one alley away from the hipster centre of the universe that is Ossington, the collection of once exhibited artists returning for one more go-around demonstrates nothing so much as the productive relationship between the gallery braintrust (more so Goodwin in this arrangement) and the formerly young, heady but visual (post-conceptual?) painters, photographers, and picture-organizers in whom they found kindred spirits. Sometimes the collaboration is literal, as in Moyra Davey's photographic correspondence with Goodwin. Sometimes it's lateral, as in Andrew Reyes' marginal response to Euan Macdonald's print. But it's always about the art, not the sale. That's what makes it unstable and therefore dooms it to being forever temporary (the venue, not the art).

G Gallery:
Goodwater continues until June 29.

Terence Dick is a freelance writer living in Toronto. His art criticism has appeared in Canadian Art, BorderCrossings, Prefix Photo, Camera Austria, Fuse, Mix, C Magazine, Azure, and The Globe and Mail. He is the editor of Akimblog. You can follow his quickie reviews and art news announcements on Twitter @TerenceDick.



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