Saturday, September 15, 2007

The Beautiful Black Lights of Salvation: Jon Sasaki at QWAC

So seldom am I given the treat of genuine amusement, especially when it concerns the confusion of old ladies attempting to shop in a blacked out thrift store. Floral print bags in hand, they approach their quarry with apprehension, not quite sure what each object is until they're within two feet of the thing. Oh, it's a plate with frolicking kittens. Gorgeous. 

The Queen West Art Crawl’s (QWAC) program Play/Grounds featured a hunt it the dark thanks to Jon Sasaki's black lights and taped up windows at the Salvation Army store at Queen and Jameson. The better part of the space was black enough for bewilderment, but just enough for your eyes to adjust so you could find your crocheted toaster covers. The shoppers were treated to browsing with individual flashlights for the majority of the day, with white items, inherently, being the easiest to find.

Sasaki’s past few shows have seen him delighting viewers with his distinct understanding of space and interaction. He also possesses enviable quality of being able to not only engage the viewer with very accessible pieces (both literally and conceptually) but to also accurately gauge public reaction, stepping beyond the role of artist into semiotician.

Black Light Thrift Store was shown for one day only, but Play/Grounds continues until tomorrow (Sunday the 16th). It also includes artist Katie Bethune-Leamen who takes you on a mushroom journey (to find, not to eat) in the neighbourhood of Parkdale. The whole beautiful thing is curated by Elaine Gaito and Chris Reynolds.