At Narwhal Projects, Moon Room, which is showing some 21 artists from closer to home, the unifying sensibility is driven by whimsy, about which it makes no apologies, and fair enough. Curator Kristin Weckworth explains that she became obsessed with space exploration and the various moon missions in particular, not the least of which being the long-standing conspiracy theory that the film of Neil Armstrong taking those first, historic steps were shot on a sound stage by Stanley Kubrick as part of an elaborate U.S. governmental propaganda campaign.
Here, Weckworth marshals artists from across the spectrum of nominally rival dealers, promoting that lovely, all-for-one vibe that local galleries here display now and again but should more often. Hannah Hur checks in with a pale and delicate piece that could as easily be Matisse-ian fronds as outright abstraction; Jennifer Murphy shows a dense, circular collage work with clasped hands at its centre; Heather Goodchild contributes a cosmic swirl of textile piece.
Weckworth scatters moments of wonder throughout: The creepy weirdness of Adrienne Kammerer’s bleak graphite drawing of a skeletal figure stalking totemic stones under a two-mooned sky; Maggie Groat shows “All Thing Under the Moon,” a sharp-cornered collage of inset squares with a pea-sized celestial body at its core; “Everybody Left But Us,” Margaux Williamson’s exuberant smear of a painting which is far from cosmic but pleasingly strange all the same.
Moon Room may not seek to answer the big questions, but in the absence of a point of view, it does present some lovely work with esthetic resonance as they rub up against one another. Beauty doesn’t excuse everything, but it does excuse a lot, and here, more than enough.
By Murray Whyte