Exploring fantastical worlds at new heights

The Z’otz* Collective’s tackles issues of immigration and transition in their colourful gallery

The Z’otz* Collective aren’t afraid to mix the real with the unreal.
The Z’otz* Collective aren’t afraid to mix the real with the unreal.
Photo: 
The Z’otz* Collective aren’t afraid to mix the real with the unreal.
The Z’otz* Collective aren’t afraid to mix the real with the unreal.
Photo: 
The Z’otz* Collective aren’t afraid to mix the real with the unreal.
The Z’otz* Collective aren’t afraid to mix the real with the unreal.
Photo: 

To the untrained eye, Memorable Paths of the Fly may look like a kindergarten classroom with its bright colours and imaginary creatures.

The full-scale gallery drawing and sculpture installation in Union Gallery is by Z’otz* Collective, comprised of Toronto-based artists Nahúm Flores, Erik Jerezano and Ilyana Martínez.

The walls of the gallery are lined with the creations of Z’otz* Collective’s imaginations: hybrid creatures that are each unique down to their every detail and movement, and seem perfectly comfortable in their intended environment.

The artists create these “fantastical worlds through the language of hybrid beasts, quirky characters and imaginary spaces.”

Z’otz* Collective, which shares a Latin American heritage, creates work that takes on themes of immigration, touching on the ideas of displacement, transition and transformation.

Union Gallery describes the artists’ influences and the manifestation of those influences as “not explicitly dealing with origins.” A personal favourite is a creature with a birds head and a human hand for a body.

Strapped to its two legs are a pair of animal feet each attached to a blue cloth. It glides gracefully while balancing what looks to be a red-orange tree decorated with colourful shapes like a Christmas tree.

This exhibit is a perfect example of the saying, “You’ll believe it when you see it.”

Interspersed among the cornucopia of drawings, paintings and collages are unambiguous small brown sculptures. They’re not exactly memorable pieces in themselves but they do fit into and show a different facet of the creative trio’s installation.

The artists have created a niche that consists of imaginary worlds and by playing with 3D figures they invite the observer to explore those worlds with them.

Like many art pieces, the meaning is left up to the viewer to find. Sometimes, however, they may not mean anything. Contemporary art is more abstract and, thus, less accessible at times.

Nonetheless, the playful combinations of shades and bright colours, the familiar and the alien, and our own natural world with their imaginary worlds make for a fun and quirky installation.

Memorable Paths of the Fly feels and looks like the inside of an animation student’s mind and sketchbook – bizarre, entertaining and definitely not for people fond of the ordinary and predictable.

It takes a specific kind of person to appreciate the art - someone who preferably has been exposed to contemporary art and strange animation, and not easily turned off by the juxtaposition of real and unreal elements.

Memorable Paths of the Fly runs in the Main Space of Union Gallery until Nov. 15.

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.