The one thing you should see this week: a Queen West it boy at mid-career

The one thing you should see this week: a Queen West it boy at mid-career

Luis Jacob, Album X, 2010 (Image: courtesy of the artist and Birch Libralato Gallery) 

This week’s pick: Luis Jacob’s Album X

It’s no coincidence that the image chosen to promote a mid-career survey of Luis Jacob’s work is a photograph of the artist’s eye. Queen West’s perennial it boy is obsessed with gazes: his, ours, the notions of looking out and looking in. Paintings from his series They Sleep with One Eye Open—large, Rothko-ish canvases featuring eyes that are vaguely eerie in their tie-dyed cheeriness—are the focal point of the exhibition. The giant peepers track you throughout the gallery’s main room, all the way to the back wall, where the show’s best piece lies.

Album X is the latest instalment in an ongoing cycle involving hundreds of found images. Jacob builds clever, thoughtful narratives over 40 pairs of panels, using photos from ads and the works of fellow artists such as Damien Hirst, Jeff Wall and Michael Snow. Each panel in a pair is in dialogue with its partner; each photo within a panel is in dialogue with the others. Similar patterns and shapes crop up, and the repeated use of frames, mirrors and refracted light urges the viewer to examine what we consider worthy of “framing”—that is, how we categorize and consume culture. It’s a simple execution of a big, messy question: what is art?

The details: To March 27. PWYC. Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, 952 Queen St. W., 416-395-0067, mocca.ca.