Useless Beauty, curated by OCAD Professor Johanna Householder and Jennifer Rudder, features work by artists KC Adams, Lois Andison and David Krippendorff that addresses notions of hybridity, gender, race, beauty, utility and fashion. The exhibition is presented in part as a response to ORLAN’S week-long residency at OCAD (part of OCAD’s Nomadic Residents program), and her video reading, presented at approximately 9 p.m.
The Works in Useless Beauty:
KC Adams: Cyborg Hybrids and Cyborg Hybrid Accessories
Winnipeg artist KC Adams explores the intersection of technological and socio-cultural evolutions. Adams presents a cross cultural-technological ideal, an intriguing interplay of contemporary race politics and analytical detachment. Useless Beauty showcases Adams’s Cyborg Hybrids photographic series, in which the artist theatrically stages celebrity-like portraits of models with mixed Aboriginal and European ancestry. The images belie their subversive and specific political edge. Her puns and double entendres, hand beaded and chosen by Adams’s subjects, speak to a shared politic in a way that is layered with cultural significance and poignancy. With her Cyborg Hybrid Accessories, Adams further animates her photographic works by subverting our obsession with portable, personal technologies with a sharp political and satiric edge.
Lois Andison: Camouflage 1 and 3 and maid of the mist
Toronto-based Lois Andison’s sculptural works examine the relationship of technology to nature and the body. With Camouflage 1 and 3, Andison proposes a kind of wearable technology that enables its wearer to employ actions of natural display, still only partly understood behaviors. Camouflage 1 is a stunning hybrid: a dress with an elaborate Elizabethan collar covered with Queen Anne’s Lace. The collar responds to a visitor’s approach by clicking into a series of positions, spectacularly articulating both seduction and protection. Camouflage 3 literally extends this metaphor in a couture garment with an extendible/retractable neck that spouts smoke, referencing both Sybiline riddles and prophecies and the joke of a woman blowing her top.
With maid of the mist, Andison twists a hatter’s steaming block into a complex metaphor for the female psyche by piercing an iconic portrait bust with holes that emit steam, finding a compelling vision inside the notion of a steaming brain.
David Krippendorff: Behind the Curtain and Night of 1000 Stars
Perhaps the strongest metaphor in the classic film The Wizard of Oz is the illusion of power. In Berlin-based artist David Krippendorff’s work Behind the Curtain we are presented with the slowed down movement of the curtain that hides the wizard himself. Here the “moment of discovery” is frozen — the curtain never opens to reveal the impostor behind it. The endless and mesmerizing motion creates a sense of expectation, which is never fulfilled.
One of the first signs of human existence found in outer space was the transmission of television signals. Space has therefore “witnessed” our existence through endless television shows, films, newsreels and soap operas. Krippendorff’s video Night of 1000 Stars considers human significance in the context of the infinity of space and time, in contrast to the greatest of Hollywood aspirations — to be a “star”.
About Johanna Householder, Curator, Useless Beauty
Co-curator and OCAD Professor Johanna Householder, is a multidisciplinary artist and writer. She is a founder of the 7a*11d International Festival of Performance Art which takes place in Toronto, Oct. 23 to Nov. 2, 2008. With Tanya Mars, she co-edited Caught in the Act: an anthology of performance by Canadian women, in 2004.
About Jennifer Rudder, Curator, Useless Beauty
Jennifer Rudder is the Curator of Gallery Stratford. From 2003 to 2007 she was Director/Curator. Rudder is Editor of the monograph Ordinary Marvel: Susan Kealey, published in 2003 by YYZ Books in Toronto and Southern Alberta Art Gallery in Lethbridge, Alberta. She served as contributing editor for the art publications MIX and Canadian Art, and has written for Fuse and Lola magazines. As an independent, Rudder has curated numerous exhibitions including Crime and Punishment for the Agnes Etherington Art Centre in Kingston, Ontario which toured to Gallery 44 in Toronto and the Mendel Art Gallery in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Jennifer was Executive Director of the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition for five years and Director of YYZ Artists Outlet between 1983 and 1993. She is currently completing a Masters of Visual Studies at the University of Toronto and is an Instructor at Brock University.