Flash: Queering the field at the Edward Day Gallery (952 Queen West), opens today (Thursday, June 24) at 8 pm, runs to July 4. 416-921-6540. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
Viewers hungry for queer imagery and history will get more than they bargained for at Flash: Queering The Field, a group show of seven artists at the Edward Day Gallery . Curator Kelly McCray has done a shrewd job of assembling work that celebrates the scene's fierce energy and diversity. Snapped over a 20-year period, the photos mostly document happenings onstage and in clubland, where celebrities and club kids vied to outdo one other in bending and extending ideas of conventional glamour and identity. Pamela Matharu , resident photographer at the Gladstone Hotel, documents local artists and drag performers with a sly and studied eye, while Tania Anderson 's portraits catch queer glitterati in sublime moments of vulnerability.
Scott McEwan 's photos from Vazaleen are all caustic edge and tension. He crops his clubgoers at the neck and waist in a way that puts the political statements of their outfits into sharp relief. Trixie & Beever add layers of gorgeous glitter and pop sensibility to their documentation of the city's queer history in Prettydirt, their series of multimedia images .
Contrast this local history with the New York images of John Simone , aka Johnny Paparazzi, who began his career snapping notorious party monster Michael Alig and mad fashion clown Leigh Bowery. The parallels between the two burgeoning queer scenes add depth to what is otherwise a Toronto queer photo album.
I foresee a lot of pointing and reminiscence here, and a lot of amusement at the partiers' gorgeous and grotesque subversions. It's the record of a generation that played dress-up not only for fun, but as a statement. As one T-shirt in the exhibit snaps: "Not gay as in happy, but queer as in fuck you."