I went out to Oakville for the opening of Un-home-ly, director Matthew Hyland’s first major exhibition with the gallery.
I am told that Matthew’s background is in feminist studies, so it seems fitting that his curatorial career at the gallery should begin with a show of feminist work. The show is the first in a series of exhibitions about contemporary feminist art, the next to be in 2012, which will explore feminist gestures towards utopia.
I was interested to read the curatorial premise, which is to “consider the currency of the uncanny in contemporary feminist art practice.” The works in the show – which are divided over two separate galleries, one downtown and the other on the lakefront – are bold and excellent, if slightly hindered by the awkward spaces. Pipiplotti Rist’s I’m not the girl… seemed a little out of place, though it’s a wonderful, wonderful video work.
I admired the relationships between the mirror that dodges your reflection in Paulette Phillips‘ 2008 The Egoist/Lover and the all-seeing-eye in Mako Idemitsu’s Another Day of a Housewife from 1977 and of Suzy Lake‘s 1979 multiple photographic series Are You Talking to Me? (set 4, 5 & 6) and Martha Rosler’s Semiotics of the Kitchen from 1975.
Best of all in the Centennial Square show, was Paulette Philllips mysterious and witchcrafty video Homewrecker (2004), which was mesmerizing, mysterious and powerful. I could have watched it for hours.
Over at Gairloch Gardens, there was a lush, gorgeous Luanne Martineau felt sculpture dangling suiggestively near the entrance and a very nice performance video of artist Jin-me Yoon disguised as what appeared to be a modern sack of potatoes, crawling around city streets, which had an almost Hitchcockian feel.
An exciting new discovery was Shana Moulton, a Brooklyn artist whose whimsical but admiringly well produced, dreamy animated videos held my attention, taking me along on her dream-like creative whirlwind and French artist Valerie Mrejen’s Manufrance, a simple piece from 2006, in which the artist, referring to the style of earlier feminist artists held a not-too-shaky camera to pages of a 70s-era catalogue, adding her own, often hilarious subtitles.
It’s a strong show – certainly worth the drive or GO train – check it out before it closes on February 20, 2011.
For more info on Oakville Galleries, please click HERE.