Review: Rachel MacFarlane at Nicholas Metivier.

October 21, 2011 § Leave a comment

Rachel MacFarlane (Nicholas Metivier)

Though having graduated only recently from the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD), Rachel MacFarlane has already received her first solo show. This Toronto born artist uses little maquettes she makes out of found materials to serve as reference for her brightly painted worlds. The materials, originally considered unattractive, are transformed by her colourful paintings into transcendent imaginary spaces. With her painterly oils she creates magnified scenes somewhere between recognizable forms and pure abstraction.

The clean white walls of The Nicholas Metivier Gallery provide a stark contrast to her bright and hypnotic works. Displayed simply in white frames or on their own, these paintings, on Mylar or large-scale canvas, occupy the front portion of the gallery. One of MacFarlane’s works is hung at the entrance of the gallery before the viewer enters the show space, although it is a creative solution for the room, the work is slightly disconnected from the rest of the exhibit.

Rachel MacFarlane (Nicholas Metivier)

Consisting of less than a dozen individual works, MacFarlane’s show shares the gallery space with the group show “Structure.” This small exhibit compliments the work of MacFarlane by presenting works that also investigate the dynamics of space and form. A partial dividing wall, which holds MacFarlane’s Propel and Twist, provides a clear division between the two exhibits while enticing the viewer to look at both in turn.

With the two exhibits in tandem, works like Edward Burtynsky’s photo of environmental devastation gives new meaning to MacFarlane’s abstracts and vice versa. Though Burtynsky captures a real space, the colour planes and chaos presented in his work become reminiscent of those present in MacFarlane’s paintings; her works in turn start to resemble a world of desolation.

– Sophia Farmer

This show runs from October 13 – November 5, 2011.

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