Stephen Andrews, Alan Belcher, David Buchan, Andy Fabo, Robert Flack, General Idea, Micah Lexier, Ian McKinnon, Wrik Mead, Regan Morris, David Rasmus
22 June 1989 - 22 July 1989
Opening Reception 22 June 1989 8pm
East & West Galleries:
Recent works by gay artists in Toronto: Stephen Andrews, Richard Banks, Alan Belcher, David Buchan, Andy Fabo, Robert Flack, General Idea, Micah Lexier, Ian McKinnon, Wrik Mead, Regan Morris, David Rasmus
Opening Thursday June 22, 8:00 pm at Mercer Union is an exhibition of recent works by 14 gay artists in Toronto. Presented in conjunction with Gay Pride Week, HOMOGENIUS brings together both veterans of Toronto’s art community as well as emerging artists, and will incorporate many divergent materials, strategies and styles largely addressing contemporary gay male concerns.
HOMOGENIUS celebrates the 20th anniversary of an event which took place at a Greenwich Village gay bar known as the Stonewall Inn. The response of the patrons who fought back against a raid on the bar, and the ensuing riot, have become recognized as the symbolic birth of the gay liberation movement, a movement leading to the establishment of a gay press, a range of gay activist organizations, a new consciousness among gays and lesbians, and a greater public awareness of these issues. As artists visible in the Toronto art scene, this collective wanted to underline the importance of sexuality to their art practice.
To complement the exhibition, the collective have commissioned an essay on the history of the local gay art practice by Toronto curator and writer Thomas Folland, produced with the generous support of The Lesbian and Gay Community Appeal, Copies of the essay will be available at the gallery during the exhibition. HOMOGENIUS continues in both Mercer Union’s East and West galleries through Saturday July 22.
MEDIA RELEASE SUPPLEMENT
Entitled “Brief as photos”, Stephen Andrews’ drawing included in this exhibition is derived from a poem by John Berger. An abstract piece using figurative elements, the elements rely on poetic syntax, rather than forming a linear narrative. Stephen Andrews’ work has been included in solo and group exhibitions across Canada, as well as in West Berlin and Zurich. He is currently represented by Garnet Press Gallery, Toronto.
Richard Banks will be exhibiting a small selection from a new series of large scale, abstract, monochromatic oil paintings. Richard Banks has participated in group exhibitions in Toronto, Guelph, Winnipeg, Saskatoon and West Berlin, with previous solo exhibitions at YYZ, Mercer Union and Garnet Press Gallery in Toronto.
Two works by Alan Belcher will be included in HOMOGENIUS, “Sheet,” 1988, one of a series of five macro-photos of pubic hair mounted on a bedsheet and “Tan Line,” 1989, a cibachrome photograph on wood with nails and ropes, depicting a picture of a hip with a tan line mounted on a wooden deck. Alan Belcher has exhibited nationally and internationally in both solo and group exhibitions for the past eight years, and is currently represented by Josh Baer Gallery, New York.
In his piece for HOMOGENIUS, David Buchan continues the appropriation of painting using the photograph as a vehicle for the dialogue between fine art versus commercial art. The notion of sexuality becomes an issue as well in this new work, based on its erotic subject matter. Since 1977, David Buchan has performed and exhibited throughout Canada, as well as in New York, Atlanta, Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Basel, Vienna, Brussels, and Paris. David Buchan is represented by Cold City Gallery, Toronto.
Andy Fabo brings together a collection of ephemeral, light-sensitive blue prints and sepia tones in a work entitled “Auto-da Fé.” By citing the Spanish Inquisition where, among others, homosexuals were identified, named as heretics and then burned at the stake, the artist asserts the radicalism of Gay Liberations where gays and lesbians named themselves and actively crested themselves as subjects. Since 1975, Andy Fabo’s work has been included in solo and group exhibitions in Canada, England, Germany, Switzerland and the United States. He is currently represented by Garnet Press Gallery, Toronto.
For HOMOGENIUS, Robert Flack has produced two colour photo-animation works entitled “Daisy’s Chain” and “(You Make Me Feel) Mighty Reel”, which are based upon aspects of the social and psychological positioning of pleasure and identity. Robert Flack’s work has been included in solo and group exhibitions in Toronto, St. Catherines, Kingston, Winnipeg, Montreal, Buffalo and Vancouver, as well as Amsterdam, Berlin and Sydney, Australia. Robert Flack is currently represented by Cold City Gallery, Toronto.
General Idea’s painting in HOMOGENIUS is entitled “Crème de la Crème de la Crème”, oil on canvas, 42″ x 42″, and is described by this collective as “General Idea’s stylized geometric poodle machines go through the motions simulating sex tableau vivant in a post-empire manner”. The three member collective comprised of A.A. Bronson, Felix Pertz and Jorge Zontal, was formed in 1968 and have since continued to exhibit extensively both nationally and internationally. General Idea is represented by Koury Wingate, New York.
Micah Lexier’s “My Fear” revolves around the theme of a typical gay man’s preoccupation with aging: originally the fear of growing older but more recently the fear of not growing older. The work’s central image is a larger than life size dictionary illustration of a birthday cake which is animated with light and sound.
“Christmas, 1969” a ‘black and white’ painting by Ian McKinnon depicts his mother, his aunt and himself as photographed on Christmas of 1969. McKinnon is concerned with the conflict encountered when a factual record, such as a photograph, is mediated by personal memory. In light of the 20th anniversary of Stonewall, the twenty year perspective granted the viewer allows reflection on how individual lives are influenced and altered by larger transitions in society. Since 1982, Ian McKinnon has participated in exhibitions in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, London, and Buffalo, New York.
Wrik Mead’s works will consist of a series of collages built from steel, rust, photography and paint, depicting human figures surrounded by a cold, hard and decaying environment. A recent graduate of the Ontario College of Art, Wrik Mead’s work has been represented in local exhibitions and film screenings since 1986.
An extension of his earlier ‘skin’ paintings and the works in his recent exhibition, “Derma Logic” at Garnet Press, Regan Morris will be exhibiting a series of branding irons incorporating floral motifs taken from flock wallpaper. Replacing the typical letters and symbols used in traditional branding irons, Morris turns this archaic tool into one used for decoration rather than identification. Regan Morris has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions primarily in Toronto, as well as in Oshawa, Ottawa and New York City since 1984. He is currently represented by Garnet Press Gallery, Toronto.
Regan Morris and Micah Lexier’s collaborative work “Your Name Here” combines one of Lexier’s laser-cut metal images with Morris’ manipulated skin-like surface to create a work which explores issues of masculinity and sexuality. The piece uses a dictionary image of tattooing superimposed over an organic surface patterned with numbers. Although this combination may suggest the kind of identification associated with Nazi Concentration Camp prisoners, it also refers to aspects associated with HIV infection, various medical statistics and monitoring, the ‘lottery’ of coming in contact with the virus, and the sheer magnitude of those affected.
David Rasmus will be exhibiting two new photo-works which continue his exploration of the photographic portrait as a Pop metaphor and a reminder of our mortality. Since 1979, David Rasmus’ work has been represented in solo and group exhibitions in Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Banff, Edmonton, Vancouver, Mexico City, Dayton, Ohio, Ravenna, Italy, and Germany.