Fermenting Feminism

Fermenting Feminism, Critical Distance Centre for Curators, Toronto, Canada. September 14 - November 26, 2017. 

Group exhibition featuring work by Sharlene Bamboat, Hazel Meyer, Sarah Nasby, Leila Nadir and Cary Peppermint, Kayla Polan, Walter Scott, Agustine Zegers

Curated by Lauren Fournier

Excerpt from curatorial essay by Lauren Fournier: 
“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.”

Kayla’s oil painting entitled 6 Tips on DIY Pickling & Other Cleaning Conundrums Solved was featured in the exhibition. 


“Kayla Polan is intrigued by the sociality and communion of food rituals. Focusing specifically on her real life relationship with her partner, with whom she has collaborated in her performances and her paintings, Polan represents scenes of sharing food in eroticized ways. Polan often juxtaposes domestic scenes with BDSM objects, gestures, and scenarios to increase the visibility and accessibility of kinky and consensual sexual practices and to make space for notions of sex, sexuality, and intimacy that are more capacious. From her sculptural work—the watermelon-shaped hand cuffs (Felon Melons, 2016) and the peach-shaped ball gag (Peaches ‘n Scream, 2015)—to her paintings, which eroticize everyday rituals like eating Corn Pops in the morning (Honey, Pass the Corn Pops, 2016), there is something both absurdly unsettling and pleasurably fun about her work. Shamelessly re-claiming puns from the purview of 1950s dads and employing them as part of her humorous and sex-positive feminist art practice, Polan relishes in a peculiar kind of excess. With 6 Tips on DIY Pickling & Other Cleaning Conundrums Solved, Polan provides a playful and practical suggestion for those who work with beets (in the kitchen or elsewhere): the use of black latex gloves to protect your hands while making beet sauerkraut, or, as Polan notes in her title, while pickling beets. Recently shifting her focus away from food and toward the realm of cleaning—rituals of cleaning oneself and cleaning one’s house—this piece straddles these two areas of interest, both of which converge in feminist histories of domesticity, consumption, and the home.” - Lauren Fournier, Curator


Photo documentation by Lee Henderson. 

The exhibition publication, which includes a curatorial essay, conversations with the artists, and photographs of the exhibition taken by Toni Hafkenscheid are available through Critical Distance Centre for Curators.



News/Press/More Info: 

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

It All Comes Together: Autumn 2017 Exhibitions at Artscape Youngplace
Exhibition Review by: Sadie MacDonald. November 20, 2017.

Looseleaf Magazine Event Spotlight 
September, 2017.

3 Openings, 3 Takes on Feminism, Culture and Female Identity
Akin Collective Blog. September 14, 2017.

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