LESIMAGES at the 519 Church Community Centre, to July 7. 416-760-2177, 416-533-2499. Rating: NNN
walk into the 519 and the first thing you see is the naked crotch of Carol Camper's Black Wing Woman, dominating the community centre's entire lobby -- even though it's hanging one story up, at the top of the main staircase.A stairwell isn't a prime spot for most art exhibits, but for Lesimages -- the debut outing of the Lesbian Art Collective -- being totally in-your-face at the heart of Pride Week festivities works perfectly. The collective got off the ground when a group of women wondered last year why so few dykes were represented in Pride-themed shows. They did something about it.
Only five visual artists are included, but since its multidisciplinary opening in time for the Dyke March, the group's membership is already on the rise.
Best in the show are the carved wood sculptures by Barb Taylor Coyle, who's also done most of the grunt work to make the exhibit happen. Rough chisel marks add painterly texture to her maple, cherry and mahogany pieces, an effect that underlines the delicacy of her figures' facial expressions. The tender embrace of her Lovers and the unmistakable glee of the woman ripping off her T-shirt in Dyke March delight.
Lesimages also features Hilary Cook's tender black-and-white photographs that blur gender boundaries; Polaroid transfers by Chippewa artist Nancy Cooper, who sees strong parallels in the debates about how dyke and First Nations art can even be defined; and janet romero's Woodlands-school-inspired images of women morphing into trees.