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pleasurehome: desiring queer space

Works by:

Catherine Opie, John Greyson, Evan Sproat, Kaeten Bonli, Shawné Michaelain Holloway

pleasurehome: desiring queer space

January 6–April 30, 2022

Curated by Logan Williams


Welcome to the pleasurehome, an online exhibition responding to queer desire, prompted by Catherine Opie’s 1993 photograph Self-Portrait/Cutting. Carved on the artist’s back is a vision of home, made in a childish scrawl, illustrating two women, hand in hand, in front of a house, under a timid sun. Oscillating between desire and violence, the image establishes a politics of pleasure that guides the presentation of four new artworks, released in sequence over a four-month span. One by one, each artist thoughtfully weaves their own experience of queerness into various forms (video, photography, painting, and digital arts), resulting in a textured exploration of home. Beginning in January 2022, viewers will have the opportunity to view each work on a month-by-month basis through an accessible online portal, converging at the hearth of queer home through its many extensions and interpretations. We look forward to having you over.

John Greyson, International Dawn Chorus Day
Thursday, January 6 – Wednesday, February 2
Every May, participants across the world celebrate the early morning song of the birds, revelling in choral harmonies and distinctive chirping for International Dawn Chorus Day. For a moment, birdsong is repositioned from the background noise of daily life to a featured soundtrack; attentive ears pay homage to the complex stories inherit in each bird’s cry. This singular moment expands beyond just a day in John Greyson’s film International Dawn Chorus Day, as a collection of birds from across the globe meet through Zoom to discuss the day of celebration. Read more.
Evan Sproat
Thursday, February 3 Wednesday, March 2
The praying mantis eats her partner after the act of making love, devouring the lustful encounter that gives life to a new generation. Sproat stages an environment that encourages curiosity and play, highlighting the mechanistic extensions of gender conformity within the filmic frame of a staged scene. With costume, sets, photography and character building, this work speaks to the dangers of pleasure made manifest in marriage vows. Working through his own experiences of loss and melancholy, Sproat injects his work with a palpable vulnerability that speaks to the desire for queer acceptance in hues of cool blue and ivory. Read more.
Kaeten Bonli
Thursday, March 3 – Wednesday, April 6
Combining the optic motif of lenticular holograms with the material language of abstract painting, Bonli imagines holographic memory and psychic space as frameworks that expand the abstract potential of queer identity. He patches together scenes from time past, through methodologies of opacity and transparency, obliterating a linear narrative in lieu of a patchwork of coming and going, not only through a remembering of his grandmother’s home, but in the negotiation between the real and the virtual, the art gallery and the webpage. Read more.
Shawné Michaelain Holloway
Thursday, April 7
The video game Mighty Jill-Off sets the scene for Holloway’s work. Set in a castle, the servant desires to kiss the boots of the Queen, but to do so, she must climb to the top of the castle through an array of trials to win the prize before any such affection be shown. For the artist, this gaming narrative has the potential to reveal the queer experience of longing for something which can never be achieved. Within the infinity-loop of the video game world, of gaining more ‘lives’ after countless deaths, Holloway questions whether queer desire is really attainable. Read more.
Presented in conjunction with the Jackman Humanities Institute’s 2021–2022 research theme, Pleasure.

Exhibition Resources

Media Release

Our Supporters

We gratefully acknowledge the operating support from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council, with additional project support from the Jackman Humanities Institute.