Angell Gallery proudly presents “Gimme art, hold the colour”, an eclectic group show featuring many mid-career and established artists who have achieved local and international success. This event represents a homecoming of sorts for the artists involved, since all of them (with the exception of one) have had solo exhibitions at Angell over the years. Bringing together paintings, prints, photos, drawings and a sculpture, the show offers a diverse display of media that are united by a simple, common aesthetic: they have been executed in black and white, and all the grays in between. Kelly Lamb offers an arresting gelatin silver photographic print with “Untitled (Eternal Self-Portrait)”. It features the artist herself, multiplied six times and seated cross-legged in a circular arrangement. Nearly symmetrical in presentation, the image appears to document an imaginary ritual that touches on the quest for perfection and the search for a united self. The absence of colour lends the work an air of solemnity and drama, while the steely cross-gazes of the figures looking at each other, combined with the heavily shadowed back-torso of the nearmost figure, renders us strangers to this ceremony. Tim Roda’s photographs tread similar thematic terrain about the self and identity, with a focus on family and memory. For years now, Roda has been staging and documenting fragmented narratives that feature himself, his son Ethan, and occasionally his wife Allison (who clicks the shutter when she is not participating as a character). With a knack for combining the everyday and the absurd, Roda creates rich scenes like “Untitled #138”. Full of wonky homemade props and constructed drama, this scene does not depict your typical father-son moment. There is however plenty of visual interest and staged conflict to get us asking how such a scene might represent Roda’s memories. In this picture, as in much of Roda’s work, his son acts as an inviting focal point for viewers to identify with. Sometimes looking confused, scared or plainly innocent, Ethan serves as a stand-in for us, sharing our doubts and fears about what is real and what is artifice in his father’s dark and sometimes comical family-album project. Catherine Heard enters the mix with an oil painting whose macabre imagery packs a big punch into a small, ornate frame. Titled “Mirror”, the piece features a group of skeletons awkwardly attending to a voluptuous naked woman. Drawing upon the danse macabre paintings of 15th century Europe and the Vanitas genre of 17th century Holland, Heard’s picture harkens back to a time when symbols of beauty were contrasted against the prospect of death to convey a moral message about the fragility of life. Heard’s careful glazing and deft paint application infuses the painting with a pearly glow, making it feel like a precious relic from a vanished time. Like much of Heard’s work, this exemplary painting features timeless themes combined with Heard’s morbidly quirky sensibility and consummate technique. Napoleon Brousseau weighs in with a large oil painting titled “Testimony”. Depicting a psychologically charged portrait of an injured woman clutching her breast, the piece draws you into its haunting, colourless atmosphere just as quickly as it pushes you away. As co-founder of the politically-minded art collective FastwÃ¼rms, Brousseau is renowned for creating work that challenges viewers to question their possible complicity in political and psychological turmoil. True to form, Brousseau confronts us with voyeurism tempered by pathos. His figure’s nudity is more vulnerable than erotic, her scarred body a symbol of victimhood rather than sexuality. Whether emerging from or being submerged into a fragmented chain-link fence background, she presents herself with trepidation, making us curious yet forever uneasy about the cause of her need to ‘testify’. Dana Holst’s lithographs prints address sexuality as well, with a naughty twist that hits you as both funny and poignant. Executed with a confident line and elegant shading, Holst’s eight works feature people (all women) doing mundane chores—sweeping, dusting, mopping—wearing nothing but smiles. Her naked figures present themselves in a frank and confident manner, more banal than bawdy. You’re never sure if they’re intended to be objects of desire or emblems of resistance. The vacuuming woman in “Suite Ecstasy 3”, for instance, goes about her chore so casually that she comes across as more of a nudist than a nudie. This ambiguity lends the works a political edge that questions clichéd fantasies about sexuality and domestic stereotypes. Vessna Perunovich offers the only sculpture in the show with her poetic piece “Heavenly Social”. Taking materials that are evocative of the human body—pantyhose for skin, wire for a skeletal structure—Perunovich manipulates them to test their physical limits. Besides referencing the body, the pantyhose and a wire-hanger also call to mind the world of fashion, while the upside-down presentation of the “legs” and “torso” conjures images of torture and lynching. Like much of her work, this sculpture transforms everyday materials to reveal the physical and political restrictions that they imply. Combining tension, fragility and sensuousness, her sculpture’s exaggerated form is somewhat painful to look at, yet alluring at the same time, like so many of the bodily “sacrifices” people make in the name of fashion. Luke Painter rounds out the show with an impressive black and white India ink drawing. Featuring a dilapidated shack in the middle of a haunting forest, this careful rendering could be a Lord of the Rings locale as envisioned by Renaissance artist Albrecht DÃ¼rer. Executed with intricate line-work and painstaking detail on the tree trunks and shack, the drawing emulates the materials and methods of traditional woodblock engravings, lending it a somber historical quality that plays against the inventiveness of the subject matter. This work continue Painter’s recent exploration of depicting fantasy subject matter using pseudo-traditional methods, where he combines the old with the new to create art that feels “newly old”, yet always fresh and exciting. ARTIST BIOGRAPHIES Kelly Lamb is a multi-media artist, designer and photographer living in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in solo shows in New York as well as in numerous international shows and museum installations, and she has been reviewed in several major art publications including Flash Art and The New Yorker. Kelly Lamb grew up in Marblehead Massachusetts and graduated from Bennington College. Tim Roda is an award-winning photographer who originally studied ceramics. He completed his M.F.A. at the University of Washington (Seattle) in 2004, and has held a number of artist’s residencies ever since. His critically acclaimed work can be found in collections around the globe, from the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago to the Essl Collection in Austria. He lives and works with his family in New York City. Catherine Heard has exhibited extensively in Canada, the US and internationally. Since graduating from OCAD in 1990, she has had shows at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art and Power Plant in Toronto, as well as in several museums throughout Europe. Catherine Heard holds a Master of Visual Studies from the University of Toronto, where she is now an instructor. Napoleon Brousseau is a multidisciplinary artist who has made a name for himself both as a solo artist and as a co-founder of the arts collective FastwÃ¼rms. He has exhibited across North America and Europe, and is recognized for his involvement in group initiatives and collectives that seek to use art as a tool for social transformation. He is a graduate of both OCAD (1976) and the Canadian Film Centre’s New Media Programme (2001). Napoleon Brousseau lives and works in Toronto. Dana Holst is an artist who works in a variety of media, including painting, drawing and printmaking. Her work often takes the female body as a focal point to address feminist issues concerning sexuality and gender stereotypes. She is the recipient of numerous awards and her work is found in public and private collections across Canada. Dana Holst graduated from the University of Waterloo and she currently resides in Edmonton, Alberta. Vessna Perunovich is a Toronto-based multidisciplinary artist. Her sculptures, videos, installations and performance projects have been featured in art fairs from Cuba to Albania, and most recently as an off-site project at the 50th Venice Biennial. She has exhibited extensively throughout Canada, and has been reviewed in Canadian Art, Border Crossings and The Globe and Mail. She holds an M.F.A. from the University of Belgrade, Yugoslavia. There’s currently a survey of Vessna’s work at the Art Gallery of Peterborough. Luke Painter is a multidisciplinary artist who has exhibited throughout North America. He graduated from OCAD in 2001 and recently received his M.F.A. from Concordia University in Montreal. He currently lives and works in Toronto, where he is a sessional instructor at OCAD, The Toronto School of Art and the Toronto Art Institute.