Cosmic Thing

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Contrary to what its title might suggest to the bawdier of readers, CANADA's "Journey to the Center of Uranus" is not actually an exhibition's worth of butt jokes. Instead, Uranus becomes a multivalent center to this spirited but uneven group show: the divine manifestation of the heavens, in Greek mythology, and the name later given to the seventh planet from the sun. Each of the artists (or "cosmonauts," a term the press release lovingly ascribes) reaches beyond the immanent realm and into the mysteries of the cosmos, cyberspace and biology, yet offset the loftiness of their subjects with ingenious, often handmade objects and artifacts. Eunice Kim's Untitled (2008) is a standout, its string zig-zagging throughout both rooms of the gallery and accumulating, on its route, Calder-esque wire mobiles, cloth sculptures, a brown paper bag man, a disco ball and other bits and bobs. Suspended a few feet below the gallery ceiling, Kim's work turns small, everyday gestures into a magically inventive constellation. Other notables include Willy Le Maitre's stereographic take on the Ediacaran geological period (After the Edia caran, 2008), which looks like the love-child of Nam June Paik's Global Groove and the work of Takeshi Murata; and Paul Slocum's Baldessari-for-the-new-millenium piece, One frame of a GIF animation printed and hung about a videoprojection of the same animation scaled to approximately 66% (2008), which follows its title to a tee, but is no less elegant for that fact. - Tyler Coburn

Image: Paul Slocum, One frame of a GIF animation printed and hung about a videoprojection of the same animation scaled to approximately 66%, 2008