Currently on at The Lilley

Connor Fogal | Emerald Bay at the Front Door Gallery

Beginning January 15, 2024

Connor Fogal paints a mural of flowers with his mouthEmerald Bay by Connor Fogal is an expansive mural project that will be installed in the Front Door Gallery, beginning January 15, 2024. Visit the site and watch the artist paint.

Connor Fogal is a portrait and mural artist from Reno, Nevada. Fogal was born with Cerebral Palsy, which affects his physical mobility and speech. With a painting career that spans 20 years, Fogal uses a head-pointer paintbrush to create elaborate mural projects and has been commissioned to paint at Options Veterinary Hospital, the Historic Lake Mansion, and for private commission. His artistic influences include Edward Hopper and Vincent Van Gogh.

The Counter/Self

February 29 through June 1, 2024

Photo from exhibit of person standing above a mountainous landscape looking out

Image: Meryl McMaster, My Destiny is Entwined With Yours, from the series As Immense as the Sky, 2019, chromogenic print. Courtesy of the artist, Stephen Bulger Gallery, and Pierre-François Ouellette art contemporain.

To a certain extent, every self is performative—a cast of characters we can summon or mold to serve our needs as we face the world. We each contain potential multitudes that can express or withhold different sides of ourselves, adapt to specific contexts, determine or respond to a boundless range of human interactions. Both individual and collective identities are formed by inner drives and outside pressures, relationships and constraints, nurture and oppression, dreams and fears.

Navigating the complexities of selfhood, agency, and representation, THE COUNTER/SELF brings together a group of artists who create and embody imaginative alter egos to examine, perform and subvert identity constructs and politics. Through the use of make-up and elaborate costumes, 2Fik, Adriana Chavez, Helio Eudoro, Julius Poncelet Manapul, Meryl McMaster, Sasha Shevchenko, Adrian Stimson, Stacey Tyrell, Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory and Jamie Griffiths transform their own appearance and stage layered photographic, video, mixed media, and sculptural scenes that destabilize viewers’ presumed realities and points of reference to expose prejudices with regards to gender, race, ethnicity, and nationhood.

Shaped by personal and communal histories entwined within the artists’ life experiences, their counter/selves bring forward irreverent perspectives that disrupt enshrined national narratives, cultural legacies and social expectations. Sometimes flamboyant, sometimes enigmatic, these characters reveal the fallacies of dominant discourses and counteract their harmful sways. Probing power structures, asserting belonging, or obscuring presence, the counter/selves are invoked to reclaim space or to protect the vulnerable. In all their incarnations, they epitomize resilience, resistance and renewal.

Curated by Mona Filip. The circulation of this exhibition is organized by the Art Museum at the University of Toronto, Canada.