Featured:FERMENTING FEMINISMSeptember 14–November 26, 2017


September 14–November 26, 2017

Critical Distance is thrilled to launch our landmark 5th year of programming with FERMENTING FEMINISM, curated by Lauren Fournier and featuring Sharlene Bamboat, Hazel Meyer, Leila Nadir and Cary Peppermint, Sarah Nasby, Kayla Polan, Walter Scott, and Agustine Zegers.

Kombucha, guts, bacteria, vessels, vitalism, effervescence, degradation, and decay. Fermenting Feminism brings together artists whose work fleshes out the intersections between fermentation and intersectional feminisms. As the process of microbial transformation, fermentation becomes both a metaphor and material practice through which to approach feminist practices in the contemporary. Is feminism a relic of the past, something that has soured? Or is feminism still a vital imperative? This exhibition positions fermentation as a vital and viable space to re-conceive feminisms’s pasts, presents, and futures. Working across art, science, performance, and design, the works in Fermenting Feminism make space for multidisciplinary experimentation and conceptual play.

Fermentation symbolizes bioavailability and accessibility, preservation and transformation, interspecies symbiosis, sustainability and futurity, harm reduction and care. Spanning the speculative and the literal, the embodied and the ephemeral, the works in this exhibition revisit questions of importance to feminists—consumption, colonialism, hygiene, wellness, agency, ritual, sexuality, transformation, and tradition—through the theory and practice of fermentation.

Fermenting Feminism is a multidisciplinary project that takes different forms: beginning as a publication in collaboration with Lauren Fournier and the Laboratory for Aesthetics and Ecology, it has evolved into site-specific exhibitions, installations, and screenings in Toronto, Berlin, Copenhagen, and Kansas City. This exhibition at Critical Distance marks the Canadian launch of this project. The site-specific evolution of Fermenting Feminism instantiates the context-specificity of microbes and fungi, of fermenting bodies, and of feminisms.

Please join us for an opening reception with the curator on Thursday, September 14th from 6–9 pm.
Refreshments will be served and all are welcome. (This reception is the same night as Koffler Gallery‘s fall exhibition opening downstairs — two for one at Artscape Youngplace this evening!)

Critical Distance Centre for Curators (CDCC)
Suite 302, Artscape Youngplace, 180 Shaw Street, Toronto, ON M6J 2W5
See Google map of location

About the Artists and Curator

Sharlene Bamboat is an artist based in Toronto and Pittsburgh, who works predominantly in film, video and installation. Her works have exhibited at galleries and festivals internationally, including Les Complices* (Zurich), the Images Festival (Toronto), The Art Gallery of Windsor (Ontario), and Vasakh Film Festival (Lahore).

Sarah Nasby works primarily in sculpture and drawing. She holds an MFA from NSCAD University and a BA from the University of Guelph. Selected exhibition venues include Mercer Union, DNA Artspace (London), and Dunlop Art Gallery (Regina). Sarah acknowledges the support of the Toronto Arts Council for her work in this exhibition.

Hazel Meyer works with installation, performance, and textiles to investigate relationships between sport, sexuality, feminism, and material culture. Drawing on archival research, she bring various troublemakers—lesbians-feminists, gender outlaws, leather-dykes—into the performative space of athletics.

Leila Nadir and Cary Peppermint investigate food, ecology, media, and memory, creating social sculptures that facilitate recovery from a cultural memory disorder they call “industrial amnesia.” Nadir is an Afghan-American critic, scholar, artist, and lecturer in Sustainability and Environmental Humanities; Peppermint is an Associate Professor in the department of Art and Art History—both at University of Rochester.

Kayla Polan is a multidisciplinary artist whose practice melds feminism and popular culture to explore sexuality, fetishism, domesticity, queer identity, autobiography, and consumer culture. She holds a BFA in Drawing & Painting from OCADU and her work has been exhibited in group exhibitions in Canada and Europe.

Walter Scott is a Kahnawake-born artist currently based in Montreal and Toronto. His practice includes writing, video, performance and sculpture, through which he explores questions of representation, cultural production, popular culture and narrative construction. His work has been exhibited in Japan, North America, and Europe.

Agustine Zegers is a Chilean visual artist and bacterial community, currently finishing a BA at NYU Abu Dhabi. They have exhibited work in Santiago, Dubai, Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, and New York

Exhibition curator Lauren Fournier (Regina, Saskatchewan) is a writer, curator, artist, and PhD candidate currently based in Toronto. In addition to her art and curatorial practices, she has worked as a frontline mental health and harm reduction worker. She has exhibited her work in galleries, artist-run centres, and screenings across Canada and in Berlin, Athens, and Houston. Her writing has been published in Canadian Art, Magenta, Kapsula, The Journal of Comparative Media Arts, Milkweed, Canadian Journal of Woman Studies, and West Coast Line. Recent curatorial projects include The Sustenance Rite at the Blackwood Gallery and Out of Repetition, Difference at Zalucky Contemporary.

Gallery hours are Friday–Sunday 12–5 pm and by appointment September 14–November 26th.
Office hours by appointment only.

Critical Distance is grateful for the support of the National Film Board (NFB) in making the exhibition of commissioned artwork by Walter Scott possible. Thanks also to Artscape Youngplace for their support for the Fall billboard featuring artwork by Sarah Nasby. Sarah would in turn like to acknowledge the Toronto Arts Council for their support of her wall-based works in this exhibition.

image: Sarah Nasby, Living Things (Dorothy Hafner vessel, kombucha, lines pattern), 2017










Please join us for the following exhibiton-related events. Click below for more info.

Critical Kombucha and Dirty Soap: Fermenting Feminism Reading Group : Sat, Nov 4, 2017 | 3–5 pm

Can a Kombucha Workshop be Intersectional? Can a Feminist Live off the Grid? And Other “Fermenting Feminism” Questions: An exhibition tour, curatorial talk, and reading group facilitated by Fermenting Feminism curator
Lauren Fournier

Saturday, November 4th from 3-5 pm. Refreshments will be served.

Together with exhibition curator Lauren Fournier, workshop participants will discuss of some of the themes related to the Fermenting Feminism project, including what it means to “ferment feminism” today and the politics, aesthetics, and ethics of incorporating fermentation practices into feminist life.

Following a brief curatorial tour and talk, the group will come together to discuss some of the key problems raised by Fermenting Feminism that the three readings— one academic article and two shorter texts—flesh out from Black, POC, and trans feminist frameworks, including issues of exit and escape, community, and vibrant life.

Registration and Location

The workshop is free but limited to 15 participants — please RSVP to info@criticaldistance.ca to reserve your spot.

Participants will meet at Critical Distance on the third floor of Artscape Youngplace for the exhibition talk and tour, then proceed to the workshop across the hall. Building and all spaces are accessible.

Critical Distance
Suite 302 at Artscape Youngplace
180 Shaw Street
Toronto, Ontario M6J 2W5

Click for Google map

PDFs of the following readings will be pre-circulated beforehand to those who are attending:

Kyla Wazana Tompkins, “‘Hearty and happy and with a lively, yeasty soul’: feeling right in Louisa May Alcott’s The Candy Country.” Women and Performance: a journal of feminist theory. 2014.

Nash, S.E. and Stephanie Maroney. “Bubbling Bodies and Queer Microbes: Dispatches from the Foundation for Fermentation Fervor.” Fermenting Feminism. Ed. Lauren Fournier. Berlin: Laboratory for Aesthetics and Ecology, 2017. 83-87.

Sharma, Sarah. “Exit and the Extensions of Man.” Transmediale Online Journal. April 2017. Web. 19 September 2017. https://transmediale.de/content/exit-and-the-extensions-of-man

Lauren Fournier is a writer, curator, artist, and PhD candidate currently based in Toronto. Her writing has been published in Canadian Art, Magenta, Kapsula, The Journal of Comparative Media Arts, Milkweed, Canadian Journal of Woman Studies, and West Coast Line. Recent curatorial projects include The Sustenance Rite at the Blackwood Gallery and Out of Repetition, Difference at Zalucky Contemporary.

image: cover of Fermenting Feminism, ed. Lauren Fournier. Berlin: Laboratory for Aesthetics and Ecology, 2017. Design by Zille Bostinius.

Links / Updates

News, press, publications and more information.

Fermenting Feminism is a Must-See Show!
Canadian Art | September 14–20, 2017