Dancing On My Own
November 14 – December 9, 2017
The New Gallery is pleased to present Dancing On My Own by Maddie Alexander in conjunction with Femme Wave Visual Art. The exhibition will be on view from 12-6PM, Tuesday-Saturday, at The New Gallery’s Resource Centre (#115, 115 2nd Avenue SW).
Join us on November 16, at 10AM, for an artist talk by Maddie at the Taylor Family Digital Library Gallery Hall.
A special reception and pop-up dance party, Femmetopia will take place November 17, at 10PM-Late, at Local 510 (510 17th Ave SW)
A visual archive of femme*-centric queer space and community by Maddie Alexander (Toronto). A new beat in the rhythm of their archival practice, this work is interactive, ongoing, and conversational.
JUST BETWEEN FEMMES: the unique nature of queer-femme dialogue
Our dialogues are autobiographical. They are specific to the emotional and intellectual landscapes of those voicing our experiences. In the case of queer-femme artworks, these personal contexts are often essential to their viewing and are innately woven throughout their production and presentation. As queer-femmes, we often do not value certainty but rather the ability to question ourselves and our communities. We value an artwork that has the ability to disrupt but that simultaneously has the ability to augment.
Patriarchal standards of logic assert that for every intersection between two or more ideas, there can be an assimilation of both perspectives into a single greater (and more true) conclusion; that compromise on at least one side is always necessary for conclusion. It asserts that this final conclusion will negate the theories and realizations of the past, and that the resulting dialogues will continuously move forward, perpetually onward to greater things.
Queer-femme conversations provide an alternative. Instead, they value and acknowledge the intersections among our varying and numerous parts. Because of our greater experience of intersectionality and diversity, queer-femme dialogue doesn’t encourage any one direction of conclusion. Instead, because of the differing paces of movement among its parts, the growth pattern of queer-femme dialogue is organic and highly contextual. A conversation among queer-femmes will pass through subjects, valuing and acknowledging the relevance of each topic, while also using each as a doorway to the next insight and/or understanding.
Queer-femmehood doesn’t hold a patriarchal narrative of one-dimensional propulsion, so it welcomes opportunity for disruption, criticism, reiteration and greater personal understanding. It is experiential. It looks towards the future, but it does so while looking inwards. For each externalized conversation, there is another within. For example, we need only to look to the feminist adage “the personal is political…”. This experiential quality renders it necessary to acknowledge who our community is made of and what identities we are capable of. Queer-femmehood is fluid. It observes the expressions of those who identify with it, aware of our individual/personal diversity of gender and sexual orientation. Rather than enforcing sustainability through the production of norms, queer-femme dialogue offers sustainability through consistent and indispensable accessibility to self-critique and of self-realization. The complexity and benefits of queer-femme conversation are synonymous with the complexity of those who identify as such.
Rarely will a queer-femme dialogue ever come to a fixed conclusion; there are no distinct ends to our conversations. The contextualization of queer-femme dialogue, though personal, is simultaneously crowd-sourced from other queer-femmes. The vocabulary we use to express ourselves (even “queer-femme” as a term itself) comes from the historical interactions of our communities and from the sharing of lived experiences; including stories of relationships, traumas, and explorations of identity, among others. But because every subject is often so closely tied to those who discuss it there is rarely an anonymous voice in queer-femme dialogue. Instead theres is a shared voice. This shared voice is accountable to the emotional and intellectual landscapes of all of those who speak with it.
Maddie Alexander is a Canadian artist practicing in Toronto, Ontario. They began their education at NSCAD University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and completed their BFA in Photography at OCAD University. They have exhibited both locally and internationally, and received the Project 31 Photography Award in 2016.
Alexander’s practice is multidisciplinary, primarily manifesting in moving or still image, text, and installation. Their work aims to combine gesture + language to explore narratives around queer identity, intersectional feminist discourse, and mental illness. By pulling imagery from oversaturated media, be it pop culture or porn, Alexander manipulates it to create dialogue around how this shapes and distorts our understanding of queer bodies, identity and sexuality.
Angela Fermor is a queer emerging artist and writer living in Calgary, Alberta. Fermor’s practices engage with observing poetic patterns and peculiarities, most often on the topics of communication and identity.