Anique Jordan, Darkie, 2018. Courtesy of the artist.
Let’s Talk About Sex, bb
27 April–1 December 2019
Samuel J. Zacks and Contemporary Feature Galleries

Season Launch Reception

Friday 3 May 2019

Curated by Carina Magazzeni and Erin Sutherland

We want to talk about sex.
We want to talk about touch.
We want to talk about relationality.
We want to talk about sexual health and taking care of our bodies.
We want to talk about how we learned to talk about sex. About how we talk to our parents, our grandparents, our children, our friends, our kin, our lovers, our partners, our therapists about sex.  About love, sensuality, cruising, futurisms, utopias and kinship, and all of their resurgent possibilities. We want to talk about all of these things with you.

This group exhibition features new works, collaborative installations, performances, workshops, poetry and film-based explorations that combine to create a narrative that expands the possibilities of sexual sociality. Curated by Carina Magazzeni and Erin Sutherland, Let’s Talk About Sex, bb  brings sex to the table to encourage open and raw conversations about our relationships to our own and each other’s bodies.

Artists featured in this show include G H Y Cheung, Thirza Cuthand, Dayna Danger, Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan, Vanessa Dion Fletcher, Gesig Isaac, Anique Jordan, Kablusiak, Ness Lee, Dan Cardinal McCartney, Grace Rosario Perkins, Tiffany Shaw-Collinge and Vivienne Shaw and Arielle Twist.

The exhibition has been made possible in part by The George Taylor Richardson Memorial Fund, Queen’s University.

Grace Rosario Perkins, Running Towards the Sun, 2016-2017. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Barrett/315 Gallery.

Grace Rosario Perkins, Running Towards the Sun, 2016-2017. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Barrett/315 Gallery.

Kablusiak, Buttplug, 2018, soapstone and tung oil. Courtesy of the artist and Jarvis Hall Gallery.

Kablusiak, Buttplug, 2018, soapstone and tung oil. Courtesy of the artist and Jarvis Hall Gallery.

Carina Magazzeni is an independent curator whose practice is rooted in critical collaboration. Her projects to-date have emphasized curating as an act of care and valued friendships, and have been informed by methods of slowing down the processes of witnessing. She is a femme settler from the Niagara Region, on Haudenosaunee and Chippewa territory. She was the 2018 Curator-in-Residence, Curatorial Residency in Paris—Programme Ville de Paris aux Récollets—Fonderie Darling, Centre Culturel Canadien and the Curator-in-Residence with La Panacée at l’ESBA Montpellier Contemporain MoCo. 

Erin Sutherland is an independent curator and scholar of Indigenous curatorial methodologies, Indigenous performance art and art history and explorations of Indigenous knowledge production/sharing via curating. She is also an Assistant Professor of Cultural Studies at the University of Alberta, Augustana, and a core member of Ociciwan Contemporary Art Collective. Recent curatorial projects include, Current Terrain at A Space Gallery with ImagineNative Film Festival and Arrivals at dc3 Art Projects, curated with Ociciwan Contemporary Art Collective; Kîhtwâm at Augustana Library; and the performance series, Talkin’ Back to Johnny Mac that took place across multiple sites in Kingston, Ontario. She is originally from Grand Prairie, Alberta, and is of Métis and settler descent.

Artist Biographies

G H Y Cheung is an artist and writer currently splitting his time between Katarokwi/Kingston and Hong Kong. His work considers the possibilities of using the built environment and public spaces against or apart from their design, queer space and spatial practices, and the imaginary confluence of personal family and queer histories, preoccupations that have also found their way into his research as a PhD candidate in Art History at Queen’s University. In his inquiries, he centres queer kinships as method, archive, and sustenance. Recent work has appeared in exhibitions at NOISE one, the Union Gallery, and Modern Fuel Artist-Run Centre. He is one-half of the collaborative duo NO and NO, and one-quarter of the micropress Small Potatoes.

Thirza Jean Cuthand was born in Regina, Saskatchewan in 1978. Since 1995 she’s made experimental narrative videos and performances which have exhibited in festivals and galleries internationally, including Tribeca Film Festival in New York City, Mix Brasil Festival of Sexual Diversity in Sao Paolo, Oberhausen International Kurzfilmtage in Germany, the National Gallery in Ottawa, and Walker Art Centre in Minneapolis. She completed a BFA in Film and Video at ECUAD, and an MA in Media Production at Ryerson University. She is currently developing a feature film and a video game. She is Plains Cree and Scots, and resides in Toronto.

Dayna Danger creates works and environments across photography, sculpture, performance and video that question the line between empowerment and objectification by claiming space with their larger-than-life works. Ongoing works exploring BDSM and beaded leather fetish masks negotiate the complicated dynamics of sexuality, gender and power in a consensual and feminist manner. As a visual artist, activist and drummer, their focus remains on Indigenous visual and erotic sovereignty and uplifting Two-Spirit, trans and non-binary kin. Danger has exhibited their work nationally and internationally in such venues as Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton; Urban Shaman, Winnipeg, MB; Warren G Flowers Art Gallery, Montreal; dc3 Projects, Edmonton; Roundhouse, Vancouver, and the New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe. Danger has participated in residencies at the Banff Centre for the Arts and at Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art. Danger currently serves as a board member of the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective (ACC/CCA). Danger is an Artist in Residence through Initiative for Indigenous Futures at AbTeC.

Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan are among Canada’s best-known performance artists. Collaborators since 1989, they were catapulted into the international spotlight with the performance and film We’re Talking Vulva. Since then, their live work and videos have been exhibited in venues as far-ranging as women’s centres in Sri Lanka, the Istanbul Biennial, Sydney Gay/Lesbian Mardi Gras and the Museum of Modern Art, New York City. This duo has also created installations (such as Archaeology and You, the Royal Ontario Museum), books (such as Bedtime Stories for the Edge of the World, Arbeiter Ring Press) and public art projects (such as Winnipeg Tarot Co., Winnipeg Cultural Capital, 2010.) Performance documentation and artifacts are held in collections including the National Gallery of Canada, the Canadian History Museum, the DIA Centre and universities throughout North America. Dempsey and Millan have contributed to art publications as writers and editors, and have curated festivals, programs and exhibitions for Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Centre (Buffalo), Gallery YYZ (Toronto) and the Winnipeg Art Gallery, among others. But to most they are known simply as the Lesbian Rangers, serving the lesbian ecosystem from dawn to dusk and well beyond. Dempsey and Millan have been acclaimed as “one of the high-points of contemporary Canadian artistic production” (Border Crossings). Winnipeg is their chosen home.

Vanessa Dion Fletcher graduated from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2016 with an MFA in performance, she has exhibited across Canada and the US, at Art Mûr in Montreal, Eastern Edge Gallery Newfoundland, The Queer Arts Festival Vancouver, Satellite Art show Miami. Her work is in the Indigenous Art Centre in Gatineau, Quebec, Joan Flasch Artist Book collection, Vtape and Seneca College. Vanessa is currently the Centre for Emerging Artists and Designers Artist in Residence at OCAD University.                   

Gesig Isaac is a 29-year-old Queer, Mi’gmaq, multidisciplinary artist. She completed her foundation year at the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design in Fredericton, New Brunswick, and is currently attending her first year at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Kjipuktuk (Halifax, Nova Scotia).

Gesig’s art practice explores themes of Indigenous language retention, ecology, and land-based knowledge. These themes take form within a material-based artistic practice centered around basket weaving, textiles, hide tanning, and silversmithing.

Gesig grew up in Ottawa, Ontario on unceded Algonquin territory. She was raised by her French-Canadian mother. Her father was born and raised on the Listuguj reserve in eastern Quebec. She was not raised on reserve, but continues to strengthen ties and connections within the community. She will be apprenticing with Rene Martin of Listuguj, Quebec in the Fall of 2019. Together they will build two full-sized, birch bark canoes.                

Anique Jordan is an award-winning artist, writer and curator who looks to answer the question of possibility in everything she creates. Working for over a decade at the crossroad of community economic development and art, Jordan’s practice stems from and returns to the communities that inform it. As an artist, Jordan’s work plays with the foundations of traditional Trinidadian carnival and the theory of hauntology challenging historical narratives and creating what she calls impossible images. She works across temporalities bringing historical data towards a contemporary analysis. This work creates space to reinterpret the archives offering a new and speculative vision of the future. Principally interested in Canadian histories which speak to Black Canada, women, working class communities and explore the relationships between Black and Indigenous peoples, Jordan’s work ultimately questions the authority of the Canadian state. Jordan is the founder of Black Wimmin Artist, a network of over 100 artists which recently organized The Feast- a gathering of 100 Black women and gender non-conforming artists held at the AGO.

In 2017 Jordan was awarded the Toronto Arts Foundation Emerging Artist of the year award, she recently completed a 2017-2018 artist residency at the University of the West Indies (Trinidad and Tobago) and is the 2018-19 Osgoode Hall Law School Artist-in-Residence.

Kablusiak is an Inuvialuk artist/curator based in Alberta and holds a BFA from the Alberta University of the Arts. They recently completed the Indigenous Curatorial Research Practicum at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. Kablusiak uses art and humour as a coping mechanism to address cultural displacement. The lighthearted nature of their practice extends gestures of empathy and solidarity; these interests invite a reconsideration of the perceptions of contemporary Indigeneity.

Awards include the Alberta Foundation for the Arts Young Artist Prize (2017), Primary Colours Emerging Artist Award (2018) and the TD Insurance Meloche Monnex Career Award for Alumni (2018). They’ve recently shown at Art Mûr as part of the Biennale d’art contemporain autochtone (2018) and at the Athens School of Fine Arts as part of the Platforms Project (2018). Kablusiak, along with three other Inuit curators, will be creating the inaugural exhibition of the new Inuit Art Centre in 2020.       

Ness Lee is an illustrator/artist based in Toronto. Her Illustrations have been chosen for award publications such as American Illustration 35 and The Society of Illustrators 57 and she has exhibited her works at galleries in Toronto, New York, Boston and Tokyo. Ness Lee graduated from The Ontario College of Art and Design with a Bachelors of Design in Illustration. She has continued to explore her practice using a wide range of media such as ceramics, drawing, painting and mixed media sculpture.

Dan Cardinal McCartney graduated from the Alberta College of Art + Design in 2016. His maternal family is from Fort Chipewyan, Alberta although he was raised in Fort McMurray. His maternal blood lines are a proud mix of Mikisew Cree, Suline Dene and Métis. As a two spirit, transmasculine person, Dan sifts through questions of blood memory and inter-generational trauma. Gender dysphoria, combined with cultural diaspora, leaves gashes to either remain open or to be scabbed over in time.

Grace Rosario Perkins is based in Oakland CA and Albuquerque NM. Having spent most of her life moving between city centers, the Navajo Nation, and the Gila River Indian Community, Rosario Perkins is interested in disassembling her personal narrative and reassembling it as one that layers words, objects, faces, and signifiers built from cultural dissonance, language, and history.

Grace has lectured at Macalester College, Mills College, Pomona College, UC Santa Barbara, Sonoma State University, Occidental College, the San Francisco Public Library, Real Time and Space Oakland, and the Museum of Arts and Design NY. Her lectures centralize biography, time, collaborative practice, and material. She has been an artist-in-residence at Facebook HQ, ACRE, Varda Artists Residency, Sedona Summer Colony, White Leaves, Kala Art Institute, and nominated for a SFMOMA SECA Award, a Liquitex Painting Residency, and the Tosa Studio Award at Minnesota Street Project.

Tiffany Shaw-Collinge and Vivienne Shaw
Tiffany Shaw-Collinge is an interdisciplinary artist, curator and intern architect based in Alberta. She holds a BFA from Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD) University, a Masters in Architecture from the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) and is currently working at Manasc Isaac Architects. Shaw-Collinge has exhibited widely including the Venice Biennale of Architecture, Winnipeg Art Gallery and Pier 21 in Halifax. She has been the recipient of a major commission for Edmonton’s Indigenous Art Park, has produced several notable transitory art works and is a core member of Ociciwan Contemporary Art Collective.  Vivienne Shaw is a trans woman currently studying at Strathcona High, who will be attending the University of Alberta in the fall to study music. Vivienne is First Nations and Métis, born in Calgary and raised in Edmonton.             

Arielle Twist is a Nehiyaw, Two-Spirit, Trans Woman who creates to reclaim and harness ancestral magic and memories. Originally from George Gordon First Nation, Saskatchewan she is now based in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Within her short career pursuing writing she has attended a residency at Banff Centre for the Arts and Creativity, and published work with Them, Canadian ArtThe Fiddlehead, PRISM International, This Magazine, and CBC. Her debut collection of poetry ‘Disintegrate/Dissociate’ was published March 2019 with Arsenal Pulp Press.

Her poetry and multi-media pieces have been/are being exhibited in art galleries country wide including the Khyber Centre for the Arts in Halifax, Toronto Media Arts Centre, la galerie centrale powerhouse in Montreal, Centre for Art Tapes in Halifax, The Art Gallery of Mississauga and the Walter Phillips Gallery in Banff.

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