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I LOVE YOU HAPPY FACE
Pete Dako at Zsa Zsa
Pete Dako is a Toronto cartoonist, illustrator, designer, photographer and publisher - the begetter of the late and still sorely missed graphzine Casual Casual (its last number was the special Hockey issue, Winter 96). He is also, lately, a painter, and his first solo exhibition, titled I Love You Happy Face, is every bit as charming and ebullient as everything else he does. The work will seem sweetly familiar to fans of Dako's cartoon drawings. Here are his teeming crowds of dogfaced boys, boy-faced dogs, rabbitheaded fish, cell phones with legs, electric cats (lots of cats) and a myriad of other winsome graphic personages herded, this time, not onto paper but onto small square canvases and, more interestingly, circular saw blades and vinyl LP records. Drawn from the fervent doodles he makes every hour of his waking life (and especially while on the telephone), these discs of his milling, close-packed figures are pleasingly omni-directional: Freed by their maker from any restrictive up-downness or left-rightness, they are loosed into a kind of swarming, chattering generalized consciousness. The saw-blade works seem especially fine - cutting-edge paintings in diamond-hard, jewelbright enamels, gaily supporting maelstroms of little Dako beings.
Until March 25. 2000, Zsa Zsa,Toronto
Gary Michael Dault , Globe & Mail, Saturday March 4th, 2000