Affected by Effects Exhibition at the Visual Arts Centre of Clarington


August 27, 2010  

There is a famous ancient Greek legend of two competing artists. The competition: Who can paint the better painting? One painter creates a beautiful still life with fruit so realistic, that birds attempt to pick off the grapes from the surface of the painting. Satisfied with his painting, the proud artist calls upon his rival to unveil his painting hidden behind a curtain. “Which curtain?” the contender asks, “that is my painting!” The artist who tricked birds conceded defeat to the artist who tricked his fellow artist.    

The age-old tension between illusion and reality are at play in an exhibition I recently saw at the Visual Arts Centre in Bowmanville. Chances are you’ve already seen the work of special effects artist Gordon Smith in the films for which he’s produced sculptures and prosthetics. X-Men, JFK, Platoon, The Shipping News, Salvador, Alive are just some of the films that Smith has worked with his crew.  

The show is filled with an array of gory remains, death masks and super-heroic appendages. The work that Smith and Co. have produced over the years is spell-binding. For instance, the antelope and excoriated leopard hanging on the gallery wall are so hyper-realistic that it’s uncanny to observe. Each hair follicle is carefully sutured exactingly in place. These amazing sculptures, really trick the senses. This is the final weekend for the show, so check it out. 

No animals were harmed during the writing of this blog.