What It Feels Like For A Girl – Madonna-inspired exhibit at York

Left: Casper, by Julie Voyce

Controversial Madonna song, What It Feels Like for a Girl, became an inspiration to five prominent Toronto women artists, musicians and performers whose resulting thought-provoking works will be showcased at the Art Gallery of York University (AGYU) in an exhibition opening Wednesday, Dec. 3, and running to Sunday, Feb. 1.

Video artist Karma Clarke-Davis, performance artist Louise Liliefeldt, rock star Peaches, painter Fiona Smyth and printmaker Julie Voyce were given free rein. They grabbed at the chance for free expression, and created works ranging from performance and painting to printmaking and video. They are also contributing to a concurrent show, complementing the AGYU exhibition, at Zsa Zsa gallery, 962 Queen West, Dec. 6 to 14.

Right: Mariko Tamaki (photo by Joshua Meles)

The AGYU will kick off the event with a bus tour led by Toronto writer and performer Mariko Tamaki, who will take passengers on an instructional and entertaining journey into all things “girlie”. The bus departs the Art Gallery of Ontario (Dundas Street at McCall) for York’s Keele campus on Dec. 3 at 6pm, returning at 8:30pm. There will be an opening reception on Dec.3 from 6 to 9pm in the gallery, located in N145, Ross Building.

Left: Video still from Karma Clarke-Davis’ Bombay the Hard Way

Public programs for What It Feels Like for a Girl include a discussion panel – “Gender Fictions/Realities: Feminist Readings of What It Feels Like for a Girl – as well as screenings, music performances, poetry readings and exhibited works.

What It Feels Like For A Girl marks the inaugural exhibition by AGYU’s newly appointed director and curator Philip Monk (right), who assumed his new role at York in August 2003.

A respected curator, prolific writer and member of Toronto’s art community, Winnipeg-born Monk served as curator of the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery at Harbourfront Centre in Toronto for the past nine years.

The AGYU is open Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm, Wednesdays until 8pm and Sunday noon to 5pm. Admission is free. Detailed information on the exhibition is available at www.yorku.ca/agyu.