seeping upwards, rupturing the surface


A Featured Exhibition for the CONTACT Photography Festival

Curated by Kendra Ainsworth






Opening Reception: Thursday, May 3, 6 - 9 PM

Exhibition on view: May 3 - June 17, 2018



NEED A RIDE? Get on the FREE shuttle bus from Artscape Youngplace (180 Shaw Street, Toronto) departing at 6 PM. Bus leaves the AGM at 8:30 PM for return trip to Toronto. RSVP on Eventbrite to reserve your seat!


Featuring works by: Eleni Bagaki, Maya Ben David and Tobias Williams, Maisie Cousins, Dayna Danger, Erika DeFreitas, Danièle Dennis, Lotte Meret Effinger, Doreen Garner, Talia Shipman, Molly Soda, Ambera Wellmann, Zhu Tian


A particularly interesting concept to emerge from what has been termed the fourth-wave feminism of the digital era is that of 'sad girl theory.' Coined by writer Audrey Wollen, it proposes that the visible display of sadness by girls and women is an act of resistance, as they break down (or break through) traditional ideas of performing the female body and female autonomy. The corporeal nature of emotions including, but not limited to, sadness, draws connections to ideas of the porousness of the female body. In Classical Greek thought, the power of the masculine derived from maintaining secure boundaries–of thought and of the body. Women were considered unable to maintain these boundaries as their emotionality constantly threatened to overflow and disrupt them.


The work of the artists in seeping upwards, rupturing the surface suggests that the physical manifestations of female emotion - the tears of sadness, the frothing spittle of anger, and the slippery secretions of arousal - all represent a way of taking up space, in an insidious, organic and subversive way. Of turning what has been used against women into an asset; not only breaking through boundaries of patriarchal culture, but forging new modes of engagement with the world and connection with others. Abjection as resistance, resilience, relationality. Taken to their logical conclusion in the digital era, these concepts find affinity with the digital image and the screen. The screen itself is inherently bodily. It is an eye, a mouth, a limb; in the form of personal devices it even asks to be touched. It is through these portals that we connect with other bodies, and with the world. The provocative, sometimes lurid works in this exhibition rupture the surface of the image, and ooze out through the screen, finding and seeping through the leakiness of boundaries, demanding attention.




Curator’s Tour | Saturday, May 12, 1 PM
Join the AGM’s Curator of Contemporary Art Kendra Ainsworth for a guided tour and conversation on the themes and works in the exhibition seeping upwards, rupturing the surface. Following the Curator's Tour, XIT-RM artist Mariam Magsi will speak about her exhibition Jahez | Dowry. All are welcome.


Contemporary Art Bus Tour: Sunday, May 27, 12 – 5 PM

Join us for another edition of the FREE Contemporary Art Bus Tour! The day begins with a guided tour at Koffler Gallery (Artscape Youngplace, 180 Shaw Street, Toronto) and then departs for tours at the AGM, Art Gallery of York University, and the Doris McCarthy Gallery, returning to Shaw Street around 5 PM.

Space is limited, EVENTBRITE registration required.


PANEL: slippery screens, juicy machines, and feminist notions of rupture | Thursday, May 31, 6 - 8 PM

Exhibiting artists and invited panelists discuss sad girl theory, displays of emotionality as acts of resistance, the porousness of images, screens and the body, and other concepts raised in the exhibition seeping upwards, rupturing the surface.




Image above: Ambera Wellman, Mystax, 2017, digital print, dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist.