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Anthony Goicolea.

Monte Clark Gallery, Toronto CANADA November 25, 2006 * January 17, 2007

Fishing for octopus, galloping across green fields, and washing clothes by the riverside--this is not a documentary about rural France or an old Southern plantation, but a day in the life of The Septemberists (2006).

Don't be fooled by the name. They are not a new indie rock band, nor a fraternity club, but somewhere in between. Anthony Goicolea's latest show at Monte Clark includes the title film as well as a group of large-scale digital color photos and mixed media drawings on mylar. What's it about? It's all about a trendy troupe of handsome younglings who just so happen to play musical instruments badly.

Did they just step out of a fashion magazine? No, but they very well might have. Goicolea's semim-ystical, angelic teenage orchestra can be seen posing with or playing accordions, drums, and flutes. But it doesn't stop there, as they inhabit a world of bizarre contrasts. At first glance, they look like a gaggle of GQ models stuck in some Amish time warp. Yet again, as key protagonists in the accompanying 30-minute film, whose only soundtrack is Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf, these images perfectly mimic the peaks and valleys of dramatic tension underscoring the religious cornball creepiness on screen, set, or sect. Children of the Corn, indeed.

And music is the simplest tool for dressing up a sequence of events that would otherwise get sloppy or bogged down. The actors' failings as musicians skew the staged choreography as would over-reliance on offbeat Ken dolls. Something does not quite gel here, as when another dandy shears a sheep with wrinkled, freckled hands in close-up, but which in the next shot transform into a freshly manicured set of polished tens. For all its Gus Van Sant deadpan mystique, it would have been easy to halve and to behold this film. The S/M or Christian ceremonies notwithstanding, the core of the troupe's weirdness melts down as aesthetic interest giving way to routine.

Fashion over function? Clad in white dress shirts and pomo bola ties, the boys are the poster children for Thom Browne's new spring/summer 2007 collection. Though at times the tone of the show runs away from itself to a runway in mufti, the two characters in Diptych--Dissection Portrait (2006), who watch each other harvesting ink sacks, are highly suggestive of mutual yet antagonistic forces, as might be expected of fashion's bottom line. Certainly Goicolea seems very attached to his characters, but it's not reciprocal. As we know from newsstand glossies, such is the way of all fashionism.
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Title Annotation:art exhibition
Author:Sayej, Nadja
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Mar 1, 2007
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