Men in Uniform | Jeff Shymko

April 24 – May 6, 2007

Men in Uniform, by Jeff Shymko (Propeller Centre for the Visual Arts, 984 Queen St. W. until tomorrow), reveals something we are loath to admit. Society has gone uniform-crazy as it always does when war is in the air.

In his first Toronto show, Shymko, an Oshawa-based painter/sculptor, gives the greatest leeway possible to the idea of what constitutes a uniform. There’s a tightly grouped troupe of British redcoats shown in brilliant crimson acrylic “For Queen and Country” (2007). And there’s the baggy pant camaraderie of three young skateboarders in “Skaters” (2007) as well as meeting of well-muscled shirtless guys in “The Boys” (2007). Bare skin is a uniform too, after all.

To Shymko, uniforms aren’t just about the group you’re in. They signal the group you want to be in. “Like a painting or a snapshot,” he says, “our uniforms suggest brief glimpses into worlds of possibility.”

Peter Goddard | We love a man in uniform | The Toronto Star

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