An OCADU Criticism and Curatorial Practice MFA Thesis Exhibition
Opening March 5, 7 – 9 p.m.
The pervasiveness of the abject in contemporary art proves that transgression has more to offer than short-lived shock value. For thirty years the abject has continued in the mainstream art sphere as a perturbing thematic that threatens mortality and incorporates bodily fluids. While other types of transgressive art have become accepted and even institutionalized, the presence of abject art remains undertheorized. The question endures: why is abject art still so provocative?
Nebularity presents an updated lens to reconsider the experience and display of abject art in the twenty-first century. Three contemporary artists – Louis Fortier, Jesika Joy, and Kim Stanford – employ abject tendencies that elicit emotional engagement and strong reactions. By confusing boundaries, imposing intimacy, and deteriorating conventional forms, these works demonstrate that the abject is not just another genre of art but a practice of continually challenging structures of subjectivity and knowledge.
Jesika Joy is a Toronto-based video artist who works with deliberately confrontational sexualized scenarios. With a PhD in social and political thought, Joy addresses feminine issues and bodily politics in an unapologetic graphic manner. Her works both repel and attract by drawing viewers into aggressive portrayals of intimate, abject activities.
Montreal-based Louis Fortier engages with malleable wax-like materials to create abject sculptures of facial and body parts. While gesturing towards Greco-Roman portraiture, the mutated forms are at once sensual, tactile, carnal and grotesque. The morphing shapes hint at alien forces that play with human flesh in impossible and monstrous ways.
Kim Stanford is a Toronto-based artist who creates unnerving three-dimensional sculptures and engulfing installations. Though the materials bear a familiar domesticity, they typically are things used and discarded, and so become abject through unnatural accumulation. Her aesthetic carries undertones of ambiguity, vulnerability and the uncanny.