Reception date & time:
Where is the lesbian content? Artist, Onya Hogan-Finlay, presents an explorative and humorous exhibition that unearths lesbian representation in The ArQuives. Groupings of lesbian books, periodicals, journals, photos, buttons, paintings from The ArQuives National Portrait Collection and ephemera appear along side Onya’s limited edition artist multiples, screen prints, photo collages, ink drawings and videos.
While Canadian Content (Can Con) regulations shape the fabric of Canada culture, Lez Con exposes the often overlooked indexical record of the political, aesthetic and sex lives of lesbians. Much like the museum, LGBTQ archives often reproduce institutional sites of hegemonic masculinity that enjoy the same pervasive conditions of white male privilege that underpin Western historical canons. The works in Lez Con represent a platform for lesbians and the artist-curator to image and represent their own eroticisms, lifestyles, desires, and fantasies through a lesbian-to-lesbian gaze which actively challenges the potential misogynist and conventional heteronormative male consumption of women’s bodies.
A display of the late artist, activist and promoter, Will Munro’s series Lezbro is also included in the exhibition. A selection from Munro’s recent donation to The ArQuives will be on view, including his vinyl records, posters and a limited edition hand stitched plaid lezbro jacket, all of which asserts his unwavering support of lesbian culture in a gender segregated LGBTQ community that is too often invisible in gay communities. This vitrine emerges alongside and in relationship to the celebration of Munro’s prolific art practice and relentless investment in the creation of queer spaces in Toronto at the Art Gallery of York University (AGYU) in the WILL MUNRO: HISTORY, GLAMOUR, MAGIC and its extensive off-site programming 11 January – 11 March 2012.
On Dec. 10, 2011, Onya orchestrated a staged tableau vivant at The ArQuives on Dec. 10. Friends of The ArQuives posed the question: “where’s the lesbian content?” A poster featuring the image was available to the participants and to those who attended the opening on Jan 20, 2012.
Lez Con appears as a satellite exhibition in conjunction with Coming After, an international group exhibition on queer time, curated by Jon Davies at The Power Plant, (10 December, 2011 – 4 March, 2012).
235 Queens Quay West Harbourfront Centre, Toronto, ON
Directly responding to The ArQuives’s mission to recover and preserve our histories and give public access to archival materials by and about LGBTQ people, Lez Con offers a glimpse into a relatively under exposed genres and esthetics of lesbian culture and aims to inspire more lesbians to donate their own records, collections, stories and papers to The ArQuives.
Onya Hogan-Finlay’s projects activate, re-present and re-imagine historical narratives, feminist iconographies and expressions of gender through multi-disciplinary installations, drawing, social and curatorial interventions. Based in Los Angeles, Onya Hogan-Finlay is a Canadian born interdisciplinary artist who has exhibited throughout North America. She earned her BFA at Concordia University and her MFA at the University of Southern California. Hogan-Finlay co-founded the projet MOBILIVRE-BOOKMOBILE project, an exhibition of artist books, zines, and independent publications that toured North America in a retrofitted Airstream trailer. Recent collaborations include Ulrike M?ller’s Herstory Inventory, Lesbians on Ecstasy, The Third Leg collective and others. Onya’s drawings have appeared in zines and publications including trans-feminist journal LTTR, Randy, C Magazine, Documenta Magazine No., 2 2007 LIFE! and in The New Museum’s The Younger Than Jesus Artist Directory. Onya was a recent panelist for Pacific Standard Time’s Doin’ It in Public Feminism and Art at the Woman’s Building. Her MFA thesis work, My Taste in Men, is the subject of Jack/Judith Halberstam’s essay in Cruising the Archives: Queer Art and Culture in Los Angeles, 1945-1980, published by ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives in Los Angeles, 2011.