Shereck’s exhibition at loop Gallery features larger than life-size portraits of fictional characters. They come along with their own stories. Looking at them one is quickly drawn to the pieces through their bright, mainly primary colours, and the unique, almost grotesque faces they depict. The exhibition also incorporates three three-dimensional sculptural objects, made of wood.
When observing the painted works, twenty-seven in total, they bring back a nostalgic feeling of childhood: playfulness. At a closer, analyzing look, it appears that the faces are composed of pieces of wooden playing blocks. Each one of them have their own stories, that were developed by Professor Gerald Cupchik and his students from his Psychology of Emotion course, at the University of Toronto. This psychological background becomes apparent when reading through the stories in the book that accompanies the exhibition, telling us everything about each fictional character.
“Justin the Plastic” is a representation of the consumerist society we live in and the constant desire and effort we put into perfecting the human body. Some of the other topics that are addressed include the struggle with drug addiction from an underlying cause of depression. Another portrait focuses on the problem of a released prisoner and the difficulties between being confined within a prison, and then facing freedom.
These narratives behind the artworks allow the viewer to think more critically. When the pieces are first observed, they seem easy and playful. However, once one explores and understands the stories behind, then these portraits provide a deeper meaning with a unique perspective.
Victoria De Chellis
*Exhibition information: May 20 – June 11, 2017, loop Gallery, 1273 Dundas Street West, Toronto. Gallery hours: Wed – Thur 12 – 5, Fri -Sat 12 – 6, Sun 1 – 4 pm.