What It Feels Like For A Girl at the Art Gallery of York University (N145 Ross Building, 4700 Keele) to February 1, 2004. 416-736-5169. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
Sometimes exhibition names tell you exactly what you're going to see, and sometimes they don't. For example, the new show at AGYU is called What It Feels Like For A Girl. What what feels like for a girl? The first big curatorial effort by new director Philip Monk , ex-curator of the Power Plant, is an all-local, all-female effort that explores femininity - roughly.
The five artists involved bring different styles and perspectives to the theme.
Life-sized images of rock-rap gender-bender artist Peaches and heroin-chic shirtless freak rocker Iggy Pop are projected on the wall at the gallery entrance. Viewers can sing karaoke, filling the role of either of the two singers in what is a very unusual duet. When Peaches sings that some people don't like her crotch, for instance, you, as Mr. Pop, can respond by saying it might be because of the "fuzzy spots." It's a fun piece that plays off the stereotypes of these two personalities.
Julie Voyce 's prints line two walls of the first gallery. Orange and blue dominate the colour scheme of her lively works, mounted directly onto the gallery walls. They look like softer and more abstracted versions of the Jetsons' cartoon world. Other images are more explicitly girlish, including a very delicate, decorated and anatomically correct grouping of female eyes, nose and mouth and another piece adorned with the words, "You get a big hug."
Across from Voyce's display hangs a wall-spanning mural by Fiona Smyth . Rendered in her signature chaotic comic book style, it's populated by gangs of zombie-like creatures with prominent and dangling boobs. It's an impressive work and dominates the large gallery space.
Karma Clark-Davis 's video crosses lip-licking tongues with a winding drive down a snowy wilderness road. The windshield wiper moves to the beat of a song, over which a voice drawls, "If loving you is wrong, I don't wanna be right." Clark-Davis is playing the bad girl in a so-so piece. It's like a scene from a B movie that delivers on camp but not on concept.
Louise Liliefeldt 's live performance the night of November 27 in York's large Vari Hall has been captured in a two-channel, two-TV video piece. Although she seems deadly serious, Liliefeldt is playing with stereotypes. She literally falls into the arms of a strange man, slams back a huge glass of wine and then proceeds to stab between her spread fingers with a knife (very Basic Instinct), finally skipping rope before dousing her hair in a bucket of water over and over again. Is this what it feels like for a girl? But inaugural show by York U curator Philip Monk lacks focus