Miriam Bohemia , Farheen HaQ , Elly Lee , Jennifer Linton and Fariba Samsami at A Space (401 Richmond West, #110), to February 19. 416-979-9633. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
Before you even enter A Space gallery , Farheen HaQ 's work in the hallway asks you to examine yourself, asking questions like "What is your mother tongue?" and "Any distinguishing features?"
Posted beside photos of other people's personal details - fingers, scars, nape of neck - the work introduces Subject(ive) Aesthetics, a show by five artists who make you hyper-aware of where you come from.
HaQ, like the others, uses her unique experience to tackle deeper issues. Her videos and photos highlight the constant tension she feels between gender and religion as a South Asian.
Elly Lee is very conscious of her expressive freedom as a modern Korean woman living in Canada. Her sculpture installation of casts of female bodies and traditional clothing and shoes tracks the painful journeys made by Korean women through history.
Miriam Bohemia explores how she was influenced by Communist values and the Cold War. Her not-too-subtle paintings also address women's sexuality today.
Two artists show particularly provocative work.
Jennifer Linton 's bold stained-glass-like statements in mixed media on mylar confront female sexuality head on. In one, a Catholic schoolgirl lifts her skirt over a gaping man's face.
Fariba Samsami 's Boghcheh (garden), a huge black knotted sack sitting in the middle of the gallery, is anything but a garden. This collage of chadors, veils and other materials used by Iranian women makes a strong comment on the restricted lives of women there, and leaves us curious about what we can't see inside the sack.