By Terrence Dick
Over on Queen West, Andrew Harwood and Keith Cole make a jarring pair at Paul Petro. On the main floor, ex-Torontonian, now Winnipegger Harwood works the camp angle on an assortment of Canadian kitsch objects. From the surprisingly effective found abstraction in his chipboard panels (which he gives the title Winnipeg Stained Glass) to the Favor Ware ceramic molds than make up Mushroom Pyramid (for Will Munro), Harwood’s Prairy Style makes the case for a rural queer aesthetic.
The fun and games take a darker turn when you head upstairs to see Keith Cole’s Three Bad Words, an installation that appears to be the remains of extensive investigative activity addressing the media response to the crimes of Colonel Russell Williams. Cole’s critique centres on the exceptional status given to Williams because he was considered too “normal” to be engaging in such deviant activities. This is presented through grim snapshots of the artist in women’s underwear (much like the killer photographed himself), dozens of cartoon penises, notes, samples, and scrapbooks that suggest an obsessive pursuit of some inaccessible truth.