These young people, identifying as gay and/or transgender, felt that their experiences have been overlooked or misrepresented in mainstream culture.
—Alison Gillmor, CBC Reviewer
How do you choose to represent yourself to the world? That's a big question for anyone. It's an even bigger question for adolescents. And it can be a huge issue for gay and transgendered adolescents, who are often trying to explore their identities in the face of stereotypes and prejudices. Queer Perspectives
, a new show at the Flux Gallery at aceartinc
, is a way to help them along their journeys.
The exhibition was developed through WITH ART, part of an innovative public art program at the Winnipeg Arts Council
that connects professional artists with community groups to develop public art projects. Winnipeg artist Lisa Wood
, long known for her incisive painted portraiture, worked with participants in the youth peer program at the Rainbow Resource Centre
for over a year.
Lisa Wood, "Alison" 2012, oil on canvas, 30 X 48. (Leif Norman)
These young people, identifying as gay and/or transgender, felt that their experiences have been overlooked or misrepresented in mainstream culture. They wanted to find ways to represent themselves. Together they decided that Wood would paint their portraits, while they worked on their own self-portraits, using a combination of visual art and text.
Wood worked from photographs that she and the subject chose together. She uses the beauty and historical heft of the large-scale portrait to suggest her subjects' strength and resilience, while letting their teenaged self-consciousness (rather poignantly) come through.
Wood's subtle and insightful paintings anchor the show, while the participants explore their own directions. Alison Burdeny chooses to picture herself in flowing, dream-like images. Sheila Mogg uses layered collage. Vic Peters' mixed-media piece draws on significant song lyrics. Julian Kirchmann offers an expressive painting with the searching title, will you take me as i am? Mixing inner and outer realities and public and private perceptions, these paired artworks suggest the complex nature of gender, sexuality and identity.
Queer Perspectives: A WITH ART community project, runs until October 27th at the Flux Gallery at aceartinc., 290 McDermot Avenue.