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2010 Exhibition Archives




January 16 to May 9, 2010
Posing Beauty in African American Culture

Curated by Deborah Willis and organized by Curatorial Assistance, Pasadena, California
Ushering in the AGH’s Vital Africa theme, Posing Beauty explores the contested ways in which African American beauty has been represented in the media in both historical and contemporary contexts. Throughout the Western history of art and image-making, beauty has been idealized and challenged, and the relationship between beauty and art has become increasingly complex within contemporary art and popular culture. This exhibition of photography challenges the relationship between beauty and art by examining the representation of beauty as a racialized act fraught with meanings and attitudes about class, gender, and aesthetics.

Posing Beauty examines contemporary understandings of beauty by framing the notion of aesthetics, race, class and gender within art, popular culture, and political contexts. This exhibition features works drawn from public and private collections and will be accompanied by a book published by W.W. Norton. Artists in the exhibition include Carrie Mae Weems, Hank Willis Thomas, Bruce Davidson, Lee Friedlander, Garry Winogrand, Eve Arnold and Edward Curtis.

Dr. Deborah Willis is a Professor and Chair of the Photography and Imaging Department at New York University. She was named among the 100 Most Important People in Photography by American Photography Magazine.

After closing at the AGH on May 9, 2010, Posing Beauty in African American Culture will travel to Williams College Museum of Art in Williamstown, Mass., the Newark Museum in New Jersey and USC Fisher Museum of Art in Los Angeles. The Art Gallery of Hamilton is currently the only Canadian venue.

Exhibition Partner: TD
Media Sponsor: The Globe and Mail


January 16 to May 9, 2010
Ritual Evidence: Tim Whiten

Curated by Melissa Bennett
Tim Whiten’s artistic practice, developed over the past forty years, has consistently probed transcendental themes related to rituals and relics. Using authentic human skulls, his sculptural pieces cause an arresting encounter. Featured works from the AGH collection are Ram, Canticle for Adrienne, and Siege Perilous. Upon first encounter, the works may appear unsettling in their gravity, but in fact they invite the viewer to engage in personal reflection on one’s place in the physical world. To experience the essence of Whiten’s practice, the viewer can interact with Ram. To understand the work, the viewer must kneel at the height of a human skull perched on a cedar log. This act of kneeling is akin to the act of supplication. Peering through an aperture placed in the skull, one can see his or her own reflection in addition to a close-up view of the skull. This combined imagery suggests that above one’s self, there is a superior being. Canticle for Adrienne was made when Whiten’s daughter Adrienne was a child playing in his studio. The form of this work reflects the shape of her crib, and also plays on the idea that one must always work from what has been historically pre-determined. Siege Perilous is a wooden chair with skulls mounted on its arm rests. This work generally represents a seat of power and betrayal, and specifically references the person who betrayed Christ and the thirteenth seat at the Last Supper. This exhibition of Whiten’s work is commanding – both spiritually and visually.

Whiten is a highly prolific senior-career Canadian artist who has influenced generations of artists through his position as Professor of Fine Art at York University since 1968. His works have appeared in solo and group exhibitions both nationally and internationally. He is represented by Olga Korper Gallery in Toronto.


January 16 to May 9, 2010
Arctic Passion: The Inuit Art Collection of Christopher Bredt and Jamie Cameron

Curated by Dr. Patrick Shaw Cable
This segment of the ongoing AGH Collectors Exhibitions Series features selected works from one of the best private collections of Inuit art that exists today in Canada — the collection of Christopher Bredt and Jamie Cameron in nearby Toronto. Assembled over many years, this notable collection includes comprehensive holdings from different areas like Baffin Island and Baker Lake, revealing a side to Inuit art that many of us do not usually recognize: the rich variety of Inuit visual expression — extending to materials and subjects, as well as intentions, meanings and moods. Bredt and Cameron, respectively a hardworking practitioner and professor of law, possess an intimate relationship with these objects they have collected together and live with daily — the couple’s collection expresses both their passionate appreciation of the forms of Inuit art, and their uncommon understanding of Inuit art’s development and cultural context. The AGH is proud to usher in 2010 with this public presentation of choice Inuit sculptures and prints, which comes on the heels of the 50th anniversary of the first appearance of catalogued Inuit prints in 1959 — at Cape Dorset, one of the major locales to be represented with singular breadth in the Bredt and Cameron collection.


January 30 to May 24, 2010
End of the American Road: Terence Byrnes

Curated by Melissa Bennett
Premiering in Canada, Terence Byrnes’ photographic series Springfield, Ohio: The End of the American Road yields surprising views of small town America. Byrnes has been photographing the people and places of Springfield for over forty years. On his annual visits, he looks for things that might often be overlooked, and many of his images show people living in poverty. Byrnes has formed enduring friendships with the many locals who are unlikely to escape Springfield’s tight orbits of class and race.

Often compared to the work of Walker Evans, Byrnes’ images are moving in their depiction of the lives of the citizens of Springfield. The images are at times flecked with humour, or tenderness, or plain, if shocking, realities of American life. On display are black and white and colour photographs taken from 1966 up to the present, showing the evolution of people and place while Byrnes’ unassuming presence remains a constant. Byrnes is a Montreal-based artist and author. His photographs have been exhibited in Canada and the USA.


January 30 to May 24, 2010
david merritt: sham

Curated by Melissa Bennett
David Merritt’s works are playful, serious, humorous and conceptually weighted all at once. He examines the relationship between the way words are used, and the way they appear when written. Taking the words of popular songs, he charts them in intricately drawn diagrams, making connections between the many songs that use the same phrases, such as "last train". Interwoven lines, supplemented by many erasures, place an authoritative yet absurd order on the content of pop songs. Merritt’s signature sculptural works are also on display: delicate forms are made from unraveled lengths of sisal rope. Battling the tensions between heavy and light, some of the sisal sculptures also incorporate language, working with the themes of music, and the connections between words, meanings, and their visual presence in popular culture.

Merritt’s work has been exhibited in Canada and internationally, including at the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Textile Museum of Canada and TENT CBK, Rotterdam. He is based in London, Ontario and is represented by Jessica Bradley Art + Projects, Toronto. The exhibition will be accompanied by a publication co-published with Museum London, the Art Gallery of Windsor, and the MacLaren Art Centre.


April 24 to August 15, 2010
Robert Mason

Guest Curated by Shirley Madill
Robert Mason was a Hamilton-based artist who influenced a generation of artists in this community. This large-scale exhibition brings together over forty works from public and private collections including the last suite of works he produced prior to his death in 2005. Expressed through painting, installation, photography and sculpture, Mason’s interests can be contextualized within larger artistic movements in North America such as land art and painterly abstraction. Recurring motifs and themes in Mason’s paintings include the landscape, trees, the night sky and migration. His large outdoor installation pieces, including the placement of caribou sculptures in the water at Hamilton’s Cootes Paradise, evoked his sensitivity and concern for the natural environment in the face of increased industrialization. Known for his dedication to arts and education in Hamilton, Mason is remembered and honoured through this exhibition that uncovers significant stages in his career.

Click here to download the Robert Mason exhibition pamphlet (PDF).


April 10 to August 15, 2010
Shaped by Light

Curated by Tobi Bruce
Shaped by Light brings together the work of four historical Canadian artists who journeyed to Africa during the first decades of the 20th century, and for whom these excursions resulted in distinct bodies of work. Including the work of James Wilson Morrice (1865 – 1924), John Lyman (1886 – 1967) and Robert Pilot (1898 – 1967), the exhibition explores how the North African experience variously shaped their painting practices. Favoured destinations for these Canadians included Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria, where the unique and magnificent light at times utterly transformed the artists’ palettes. Will Ogilvie (1901 – 1989), the fourth artist included in the exhibition, was born in Cape Province, South Africa and as such his connection to the continent and its people runs more deeply, with his work taking on an altogether different character. His closely observed and masterful Xhosa Women Washing (1932), reproduced here, grew out of a series of sketches and watercolors made on the spot at the river below Ogilvie’s family farm in the early 1930s. Of this painting, the artist wrote some years later of his intention to "convey... a mood or feeling expressive of these people in their own environment."


May 22 to September 6, 2010
Europe’s Exoticized East

Curated by Dr. Patrick Shaw Cable
Europe’s Exoticized East presents a diverse array of lush visions created by 19th-century European "Orientalists" — the name given during the period to artists who specialized in Near Eastern and North African subjects. The exhibition utilizes as a base the rich selection of Orientalist paintings and sculptures in the AGH Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Collection of European Art, which includes the painters Jean-Léon Gérôme and Charles Bargue and the sculptors Charles Cordier and Antoine-Louis Barye. Supplementing these works are several significant loans from institutions in Canada and abroad — for instance, important watercolours from the Romantic master Eugène Delacroix’s 1832 trip to Morocco, on loan from the Art Gallery of Ontario; and the magnificent silvered bronze and Algerian jasper sculpture The Algerian by Charles Cordier, borrowed from the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Beautiful, richly coloured and representing varying degrees of fantastic, realist and naturalist approaches to the subject, these works of art are also telling visual documents of 19th-century Western cultural and political attitudes toward the Near East.


May 22 to September 6, 2010
Dance of Life: The Tanenbaum African Collection

Curated by Dr. Patrick Shaw Cable
Spanning a wide variety of cultures, themes, media and formats (from intimate figurines to over-life-size figural statues and decorative arts), the African Collection assembled by prominent Canadian collectors and philanthropists Joey and Toby Tanenbaum represents one of the couple’s more recent forays into the realm of extensive art collecting. At the core of the Gallery’s celebration of Vital Africa throughout 2010, this exhibition will showcase a large selection from the impressive Tanenbaum African Collection, which consists of more than 100 works of art, primarily from east, central and west Africa, yet also including some examples of Oceanic art. Dating chiefly from the late nineteenth to the early twentieth century, the works include such striking pieces as masks of Mali and high-relief sculpted door panels of Nigeria, to open-network columnar palace supports of Cameroon and two-metre-tall funerary figures of the Congo.


June 10 to October 3, 2010
Brendan Fernandes: until we fearless

Curated by Melissa Bennett
The exhibition until we fearless pushes viewers to reconsider perceptions and inhibitions about the cultural identities associated with Africa and the African Diaspora.

until we fearless debuts Voo Doo You Doo Speak, a life-sized make-shift shelter that viewers can enter. Within this structure is a multi-channel video and sound environment that exudes tribal rhythms through two electronic sound pieces by Hamilton’s Jeremy Greenspan (of the music group Junior Boys), created specifically for this exhibition. Animated African masks flash on monitors, and are accompanied by Dadaist and Voodoo-inspired sound poems which are played on headphones.

A new suite of animations entitled Love Kill is shown throughout the exhibition space on monitors, combining drawing, animation and music, and evoking dark humour in their display of animals at prey. African mask imagery, spear motifs, and a sculptural installation featuring life-sized deer decoys wearing fabricated African masks invite us to think about the use of synthetic materials in such an expression of traditionally "natural" things.

Throughout the exhibition space, the juxtapositions of images, natural and man-made materials, and tribal and nonsensical sounds lead the viewer to consider the many ways in which the arts and artifacts of Africa have been presented within popular culture. In this exhibition, nature and culture come together as complicated forms, offering a new perspective on identity.

This exhibition is Fernandes’ first solo exhibition at the museum level, and is the culmination of several years of his most poignant artistic investigations.

Born in Kenya of South Asian heritage, Brendan Fernandes immigrated to Canada in the 1990s. He completed the Independent Study Program of the Whitney Museum of American Art (2007) and earned his MFA (2005) from the University of Western Ontario and his BFA (2002) from York University. He has exhibited internationally, has participated in numerous residency programs and is the current recipient of the New Commissions Project through Art in General, New York. He is based between Toronto and New York. His work is represented by Diaz Contemporary, Toronto. Exhibition Partner: The Hutton Family

*Brendan Fernandes was short-listed for the 2010 Sobey Art Award, Canada’s preeminent prize for contemporary Canadian art. He is the Ontario finalist. An exhibition at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal will feature selected work by the shortlisted artists from October 8, 2010 to January 3, 2011. The winner of the 2010 Sobey Art Award will be announced at a Gala event at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal on November 18, 2010. For more information about this award, visit: www.artgalleryofnovascotia.ca/en/sobeyartaward.


June 5 to October 3, 2010
ATELIER Cake: Fiona Kinsella

Curated by Melissa Bennett
The familiar is made strange in this exhibition of ornately decorated cakes and thick abstract oil paintings. Kinsella’s cakes, iced with baker’s fondant, are situated precariously between beauty and the grotesque. Appearing at first as standard cakes that are often used to mark rites of passage like birthdays, weddings, or funerals, the cakes are here adorned with small objects such as bones, religious relics, teeth, and are sometimes encircled with human hair.

The cakes impart a Victorian sensibility while referencing the subconscious. They recall the Surrealist’s juxtapositions and experimentation with materials, and similarly Meret Oppenheim’s Object (Le Déjeuner en fourrure) (1936), a fur-lined tea cup.

Layers of white paint occupy the surfaces of Kinsella’s Chapel (rose) paintings, yet beneath the facade lie dramatic layers of dark paint. The artist digs out the deeper layers to create a textured, swirling and mottled surface, evoking an array of imagery. Both the cakes and paintings speak to consumption and over-saturation, narrative and relic.

Fiona Kinsella is a mixed media artist and painter based in Hamilton. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Guelph. Her work has been exhibited across Canada, in the United States and Europe and is represented by transit gallery in Hamilton.

Click here to download the Cake: Fiona Kinsella exhibition pamphlet (PDF).


September 18, 2010 to January 2, 2011
Forging a Path: Quebec Women Artists 1900 - 1965

Organized and toured by Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, a government corporation funded by the ministère de la Culture, des Communications et de la Condition fèminine du Québec. Curated by Esther Trépanier.
To mark her appointment as the Musée’s Executive Director in 2008, Esther Trépanier chose to organize an exhibition celebrating the efforts of Quebec women artists. The exhibition — a selection of over seventy works by fifty artists — examines their contribution to redefining modern figurative art in Quebec and elsewhere in Canada in the first half of the twentieth century, followed by an exploration of their role in the early avant-garde abstract movements of the 1950s and 1960s. One of the purposes of the exhibition is to examine how these artists have taken their rightful place in the visual art world during the 20th century. Among the many artists represented are Anne Savage, Marian Scott, Helen McNicoll, Suzanne Duquet, Lilias Torrance Newton, Françoise Sullivan, Anne Kahane, Sarah Robertson, Mabel May, Marcelle Ferron and Rita Letendre.

Forgoing a chronological arrangement, the exhibition is organized into thoughtful thematic sections that explore a range of social, political and cultural issues that have conditioned the education and practice of women artists and the exhibition of their work. Considerations such as the distinction between amateur and professional artist, access to formal art education and the various art groups and associations within which women participated and exhibited, set out the framework within which to consider the contributions of these pioneering women artists.

At a pictorial level, the exhibition presents both figurative and abstract works, and considers how space has been represented and understood by these artists. A predilection for urban, rural and more intimate spaces reveals an openness to multiple subjects and to the often complex forms of spatial representation that lie at the heart of modern figurative issues, irrespective of gender.


September 18, 2010 to January 2, 2011
And She Was

Curated by Tobi Bruce
The presentation of the Musée nationale des beaux-arts du Québec’s Forging a Path exhibition provided an opportune moment for the AGH to reflect on its own collection of work by historical Canadian women artists. Identified in the last decade as an area in which to focus acquisition efforts, this collection has grown steadily through the acquisition of additional works by artists already represented or the introduction of an artist into the collection, thereby broadening our representation of women artists generally.

And She Was presents the fruits of this strategy. Bringing together over 30 paintings, drawings, sculptures and photographs by more than 20 artists, the exhibition spans the late 19th century to the mid 20th. Because the acquisition process is primarily a “behind-the-scenes” activity and the exhibition of a newly-acquired work subject to its relevance to a particular exhibition, the opportunity to share a selection of these works with the broader public is particularly fitting in this context. As such, recently-acquired works by artists with local, regional and national resonance are brought together here, the majority for their first public display in Hamilton. Highlights include Marian Scott, Charlotte Schreiber, Anne Savage, Rody Kenny Courtice, Harriet Ford, Florence Wyle and Paraskeva Clark.


October 16, 2010 to January 23, 2011
all my little failures: Andrew McPhail

Curated by Melissa Bennett
McPhail is an established artist who moved to Hamilton from Toronto five years ago. Practicing in sculpture, drawing, painting and performance for more than twenty-five years, his works have explored a broad range of subject matter. As a person living with HIV, several of McPhail’s past works have focused on the solemn emotions surrounding his experience of this disease, offering humbling insight. all my little failures invigorates the well-honed subjects of his past practice and inserts a witty commentary that appeals to broader issues of human wellness and the anxieties that many people experience related to disease and sickness.

The exhibition takes its title from McPhail’s central piece in the exhibition, an immense fabric-like cloak made of over 60,000 BAND-AIDs. Worn by a mannequin, it is a haunting and overwhelming mass. At the same time, McPhail’s obsessive building of this blanket-like form is humorous—the piece is so exaggerated that it appears to be ridiculous. It speaks to the capacity of BAND-AIDs to protect a wound, and also to futility. It combines the high art of sculpture with the methods of low art through his use of adhesive bandages as a medium, in an analytical and comical manner. The phrase "all my little failures" refers to the little things in life that many people blame themselves for—those questions that one ruminates on: "Could I have done something differently? And if so, how would that have changed who I am today?" His works raise questions about the amount of control humans actually have over their own fate and wellness and how this relates to global health issues.

This fall, the AGH foyer wall will feature a new piece by McPhail: a conglomeration of dollar store synthetic hair extensions are strung together to spell out the word "poof." Referencing a slang term for "gay" with humour and hyperbole, this piece is a bold encounter with a historically derogatory term. With this piece, McPhail re-introduces the phrase "poof" as a fun and frivolous expression, inviting viewers to share a positive attitude toward queer identity.


October 16, 2010 to January 23, 2011
Valise Biographique

Curated by Melissa Bennett
Valise Biographique brings together sculptural and installation art by contemporary women artists, drawn from the permanent collection of the AGH. The exhibition takes its title from Dominique Gonzalez-Foersters’ Valise Biographique (Hannah Hoch) (1992), an artwork that is a suitcase holding intimate objects such as a comb, toothbrush and mirror. This piece introduces the conceptual thread amongst the other works on display: interior and exterior realms are presented within single artworks. These fusions propose uncertain boundaries and perhaps futile limitations on the realms of public and private, and even gendered spaces. The works draw attention to one’s relationship with domestic items—what these familiar objects symbolize in social and art historical contexts, and in turn, how these objects allude to personal identity.

Works in the exhibition include Joyce Wieland’s Swan’s Cupboard (1990), an installation piece that combines exterior and interior spaces with reference to gendered symbols. Also on display are works by Catherine Heard (Efflorescence, 1997), Aganetha Dyck (The Extended Wedding Party, 1994-95), and Liz Magor (Sleeping Pouch (2) and (3), 1997).


March 6, 2010 to February 21, 2011
Max Streicher: Architecture of Cloud

Curated by Melissa Bennett
Max Streicher’s immense inflatable sculptures spark a wondrous encounter. Created specifically for the AGH’s sculpture atrium, Streicher’s new work draws from the cathedral-like setting of the atrium. Though this soft form is overwhelming in scale, it also invites the viewer to engage with it, walk around it, look upward and inside the form. Filled with air that is blown into the structure using electric fans, the form is intensely captivating, its organic shape inviting a multitude of associations. As Streicher writes, “I use air to animate my work because it provides an effortless naturalism. It not only looks right, it feels right, recollecting our sensation of breath. Inflatables are the medium of enchantment, fantasy and optimism…”.

Streicher is based in Toronto. Since 1991 he has worked extensively with kinetic inflatable forms. He has exhibited his work across Canada in numerous public galleries and artist-run centres. He has completed several site-related projects, most recently in Venice, Siena, Stockholm and Erfurt, Germany. The AGH is pleased to premier this work.

Thank you to DuPont for their generous donation of Tyvek material which was used in the creation of this work.


August 28, 2010 to April 17, 2011
Conversations

Co-curated by Melissa Bennett and Tobi Bruce
This exhibition, drawn entirely from AGH holdings, takes traditional curatorial process and reverses it. Rather than working from a predetermined thematic or parameter, the curators began a conversation around specific artworks in the collection. Discussions pivoted around select works and their relationship to other objects and ideas, giving rise to the content of the exhibition. Using the works as a point of departure allowed for a kind of visual and temporal freedom in shaping the exhibition and enabled the curators to consider the entire collection irrespective of national or stylistic school or time period. Here, rather than objects serving an idea, the ideas serve the objects. The resulting presentation combines works from the 18th to 21st centuries — in a conversation all their own. Featured artists include Evan Penny (Canadian, b. 1953), Jean-Antoine Houdon (French, 1741-1828), Jim Shaw (American, b. 1952), Ary Scheffer (Dutch, 1795 - 1858), Paul Peel (Canadian 1860 – 1892), Charles Long (American, b. 1958), and Kelly Mark (Canadian, b. 1967).

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The Jean and Ross Fischer Gallery

January 30 to March 7, 2010
Selections from AGH Art Rental & Sales

A selection of new works to the AGH Art Rental & Sales program, including metal work, abstract, landscape and figural painting. Featured artists include Adam Colangelo, Elizabeth Lennie, Greg Benz, Laura Culic, among others.

March 13 to May 16, 2010
Women’s Art Association of Hamilton 114th Annual Juried Exhibition

Founded in 1894, the Women’s Art Association is one of this city’s oldest and most important art organizations. Ties between the WAAH and the Art Gallery of Hamilton are formative and longstanding, stemming back to the formation of the AGH in 1914, in part through the tireless efforts of early WAAH members. The strong relationship between our organizations continues with the Gallery hosting the WAAH’s annual juried exhibition. The 2010 show will mark the Association’s 114th, quite an achievement for any cultural organization.

May 20 to June 27, 2010
Follow Your Art V: SAGE Student Association

Continuing a very rewarding collaboration between the SAGE Program at Strathcona School and the Art Gallery Hamilton, students and teachers have once again made a series of visits to the gallery in preparation for Follow Your Art V. Over the course of the year they worked closely with the Gallery, touring and studying AGH exhibitions and creating work inspired by the themes and artists presented. This year’s exhibition is diverse, including painting, assemblage sculpture and photography and reveals the talent and creativity present in these young artists.

July 3 to August 29, 2010
Angels of Colour: A Youth Project Celebrating the 175th Anniversary of Stewart Memorial Church

Youth from the Stewart Memorial Church community have collaborated on a large scale mural that shows images of angels of colour. The piece is a comment on stereotypical images of angels as white and cherub-like, and is created with the artistic direction of Roger Ferreira. The work represents unity of the sacred and the secular; of historic stereotypes and contemporary understandings; and unity of mainstream art practices and marginalized practices such as graffiti art. The mural shows what Black History means to Stewart Memorial Church; and in turn what Stewart Memorial Church means to Hamilton.

September 4 to December 12, 2010
Doodles to Digital: Editorial Cartooning in the 21st Century

Organized by the Association of Canadian Editorial Cartoonists
As the digital revolution marches into the 21st century there’s a widespread belief that the traditional paper newspaper is on the verge of extinction. Entire generations of editorial cartoonists, not exactly known for being optimists, have been forecasting the demise of the print media and their jobs within those newspapers for decades. For some, that has been the unfortunate reality, but on the whole, cartoonists maintain hold on their coveted spots on the printed editorial page skewering politicians, pushing the boundaries, and making their publishers nervous.

Doodles to Digital shows how Canada’s best known editorial cartoonists have dealt with the changes brought on by technology and the Internet, and how to best prepare for the future of mass media. In a fast-paced world where many have turned to Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and Rick Mercer for their regular doses of satire, the illustrated form endures.

Organized by the Association of Canadian Editorial Cartoonists in association with The Hamilton Spectator, the exhibition will feature more than 40 cartoonists including Brian Gable, Donato, Aislin, Anita Kunz, Malcolm Mayes, and The Hamilton Spectator’s own Graeme MacKay. Its presentation in the Jean and Ross Fischer Community Gallery coincides with the Association’s annual North American conference, being held for the first time in its history in Hamilton between September 23 and 26, 2010.


AGH Entrance Foyer

October 16, 2010 to January 25, 2011
poof by Andrew McPhail

Andrew McPhail (Canadian, b. 1961)
poof 2009-2010
mixed media and synthetic hair extensions

Complementing McPhail’s Gallery level one exhibition is a large installation on the AGH foyer wall. The piece is made of dollar store synthetic hair extensions, which are repurposed into a long rope form to spell out the word "poof." Its alternate title is 429 synonyms for homosexual. Referencing a slang term for "gay" with wit and hyperbole, this is a bold encounter with a historically derogatory term. With this work, McPhail reclaims the phrase "poof" as a fun and frivolous expression, inviting viewers to share a positive attitude toward queer identities. The texture of the piece is almost cozy, reminiscent of plush stuffed toys. Positioned high on the wall and well out of reach (you can look but you can’t touch...), McPhail extends its humorous quality.

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