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The Drey Gallery, Toronto

Best In Show: Animal Portraits  

solo exhibition

June 2023

Toronto based artist Michael Stecky presents his second solo exhibition at The Drey Gallery, titled BEST IN SHOW: ANIMAL PORTRAITS.

The exhibition features a series of new paintings incorporating vintage paint by number paintings of animals. Much like Stecky’s rereading of jigsaw puzzles to create sculptural paintings,Best in Show explores another hobby or craft that is universally recognizable but

immersed in time, that being paint by number kits originating in the United States in the early 1950s.

Using varied materials and techniques from paint stripper to layers of resins, gels, mesh and pigments, the familiar images of dogs, birds and deer begin to distort and bend over the weight of the layers.

The exhibition also includes a hand puppet, titled Gucci Fox, that uses both created and found materials. Gucci Fox acts as an homage to the puppets created by Paul Klee. The fox sits in the centre of the gallery surround by portraits of dogs.

While often bizarre, surreal, or menacing with distended red tongues and the hostile implications of cages, the results can also be surprisingly beautiful.

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