FERMENTING FEMINISM

September 14, 2017 - November 26, 2019

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


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

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About the Curator(s)

Lauren Fournier

Lauren Fournier is a writer, artist, and curator currently based in Toronto. Recent curatorial projects include The Sustenance Rite (2017) at the Blackwood Gallery, Out of Repetition Difference (2017) at Zalucky Contemporary, and Fermenting Feminism (2017) at Critical Distance in Toronto, Broken Dimanche Press/Büro BDP in Berlin, Medical Museion in Copenhagen, and Front/Space artist-run centre in Kansas City.

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About the Artists

Walter Scott

Walter Scott b. 1985, is an interdisciplinary artist working across writing, video, performance and sculpture. In 2011, while living in Montréal, he began a comic book series, Wendy, exploring the narrative of a fictional young woman living in an urban centre who aspires to global success and art stardom butFind out more

Hazel Meyer

Hazel Meyer is an interdisciplinary artist who works with installation, performance, and textiles to investigate the relationships between sport, sexuality, feminism, and material culture. Her work aims to recover the queer aesthetics, politics, and bodies often effaced within histories of sports and recreation. Drawing on archival research, she designs immersiveFind out more

Sarah Nasby

Sarah Nasby is an artist working primarily in sculpture and drawing. She received an MFA from NSCAD University and a BA from the University of Guelph. Her work has been shown recently in Para//el Room at DNA Artspace, London; Taking [a] part at Mercer Union, Toronto; Who’s Afraid of Purple,Find out more

Sharlene Bamboat

Sharlene Bamboat (b. Karachi, 1984) is an artist based in Toronto and Pittsburgh, who works predominantly in film, video and installation. Her works have been exhibited in galleries and festivals, including Les Complices* (Zurich), the Images Festival (Toronto), The Art Gallery of Windsor (Ontario), and Vasakh Film Festival (Lahore).Find out more

Leila Nadir

Leila Nadir is an Afghan-American critic, scholar, artist, and creative writer, and lecturer in Sustainability and Environmental Humanities at the University of Rochester. She earned her PhD in English from Columbia University in 2009, where she studied environmental thought, critical theory, and contemporary literature, and was Andrew Mellon Foundation Post-DoctoralFind out more

Carey Peppermint

Cary Peppermint’s solo art performances were some of the first to examine the effect of online spaces on the ways we imagine the environment and have been exhibited by the Whitney Museum (New York), Moving Image Gallery (New York), Pace Digital Gallery (New York), M.I.T. Media Lab (Boston), International SymposiumFind out more

Kayla Polan

Calgary-born, Toronto based artist Kayla Polan is a multidisciplinary artist working across traditional and new media. She graduated with Distinction from the Ontario College of Art & Design University with a BFA major in Drawing & Painting. Find out more

Agustine Zegers

Agustine Zegers is a Chilean artist, writer, and bacterial community dedicated to the worlds of olfaction and symbiosis. Their work uses text, olfaction, and ritual in an attempt to comprehend and commune with flows of ecological collapse as well to question the pervasive systems that produce them. Their work has been exhibited at Critical Distance in Canada, Galería Metropolitana in Chile, and the Sharjah Art Foundation in the UAE. Their work has been published by the Institute of Queer Ecology, the Laboratory for Aesthetics and Ecology, DIS Magazine, and Genderfail Press. They currently live on Powhatan land (colonially known as Richmond, Virginia).

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