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Monday, August 7, 2017

Some fascinating photographic art on display at Toronto's Matter Gallery

Returning from an excursion one evening med-last week, I rollerbladed along newly-trendy Geary Avenue, in Toronto's west end.

As Toronto's soaring real estate prices have increased commercial rental costs, hipsters and artsy types must sometimes relocate to affordable digs close enough to downtown to be accessible to the types of patrons they want to attract, and still embedded in a community that provides enough critical mass to support them locally. Geary, which runs from Ossington Avenue on the east to just west of Dufferin Street, is an industrial street just north of the railroad tracks where many old storage facilities, wholesale businesses, and car repair businesses are now being repurposed as galleries, micro-breweries, and coffee houses.

Turning north from from Geary onto Westmoreland Avenue, I noticed a gathering of people, many dressed in loud colors and ostentatious jewellery so as to, it seemed, conspicuously attract attention. If that was their intent, it worked on me, and I stopped on the street to take a closer look. What I was seeing was clearly an opening party for an art exhibit.

Being curious about such things, I edged closer to get a look inside when, from within the gallery, emerged a slight, thin man, wearing a sports jacket, a patterned dress shirt and a swanky, colorful, loosely tied polka-dotted bow tie. With my rollerblades on my feet, I had been hesitant to enter, but the gentleman, after inquiring whether I was interested in art, invited me in. With his unusual get-up, long, straight, blond bangs brushed over half his forehead, and a distinct Central European accent, I felt like was was having an encounter with the spawn of a union between Andy Warhol and Bela Lugosi.  It was Zack Pospieszynski, the curator of Matter Gallery, where the art in question was displayed.

Zack is an eminently charming man who explained to me that his gallery is devoted exclusively to exhibiting the work of international artists from everywhere outside North America. The current show, which had opened that evening, is of the work of a Turkish photographer named Aydin Buyuktas.

The ironic name for the show is Flatlands. The photographs of expansive landscapes are indeed of level plains and the structures and features on them. But through digital manipulation, Buyuktas has transformed them into vastly curved scenes which make them appear to be seen as if from the crest of an immensely tall rollercoaster just prior to a lengthy descent.

Without the metamorphosis, the photographs, some of which you can see below, would have been quite encompassing; with the artificial transmutation, they are indeed fascinating works of art.

The exhibit, at Matter Gallery, at 344 Westmoreland Avenue,  runs until September 15.

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