A Queen’s Park art gallery is seeing more action than usual because of local artist Rosalie H. Maheux’s racy piece called Sacred Circle XII.
From afar, the 33-square-inch work looks like a stained glass rose fit for a church. But upon closer inspection, it’s a collage of hardcore pornographic images involving women engaging in oral and anal sex.
Naturally, the Conservative critic is only concerned with the ‘sexual objectification’ in the piece, not the obscenity nor the anti-Christian tweaking of it:
Ontario PC women’s critic Laurie Scott said she’s “disappointed” a publicly owned government building, Macdonald Block, has chosen to display graphic and sexually explicit images of women.
“Regardless of the aims or intent of the artist, Ontarians expect their government to lead by example in combating the sexual objectification of women,” Scott said in a statement Thursday. “The fact that a publicly housed gallery has been allowed to not only display but to sell images of this nature is very worrisome.”
Maheux’s psychedelic mandala-like piece, priced at $1,100, is part of the 30 Under 30 exhibit that runs until July 24 at the John B. Aird Gallery.
The artist couldn’t be reached for comment, but told CityNews her goal was to create a reaction. She said Sacred Circle XII is a feminist comment because she’s using other women’s bodies to form flattering geometric shapes.
The gallery falls under the jurisdiction of the province’s Treasury Board Secretariat, but its minister, Deb Matthews, deflected questions to an independent board of directors that operates it.
The gallery’s art director, Carla Garnet, hung up on the Sun Thursday.
“Sorry, don’t want to talk, bye,” she said.
Two other co-presidents of the gallery board — Jowenne Herrera and Sarah Morison — couldn’t be reached.
Of course they won’t talk; that would mean having to defend their decision, which they can’t / won’t do…
No word whether the piece will be removed.
Let’s pray it will be, but I doubt it.
Gary Michael Dault, the curator of the exhibit, which showcases 30 Canadian artists under 30 years old, said he’s surprised people get upset over issues that “are 100 years old.”
“The images are so small, that in order to peer at them and be offended by what you see, you really have to inspect closely,” Dault said in a phone interview from his Napanee home. “What’s the fact that it’s located in a government building got to do with anything? The government’s so squeaky clean it can’t even imagine the world sometimes looks at pornographic images on the Internet?”
Ah, people are free to do so at home; their government shouldn’t be subjecting them to it, in a public space.
Dault said as far as he knows, the government didn’t pay the artists in the show. He said he chose Maheux’s piece because of its intricate technical qualities.
“All she’s doing is downloading what’s already there, like going to a library and taking out a book,” he said. “What she did is she sanitized the pornographic images by making them into a mandala — a transcendental image used in some religions as an aid to meditation. What she’s saying is human beings are trivial, but maybe they can be made to see a brighter, stronger ambition for themselves.”
Yes, no doubt the ‘artist’ sees humans as trivial. And the opinions of those of us who object to this bullshit as even more trivial…
Curious visitors perused the piece Thursday morning. Some were shocked, others simply shrugged their shoulders.
“I think people are too sensitive,” Dave Stirling, 53, said. “It’s art. If you go to any galleries in Europe you’re going to see some degree of nudity, so suck it up. A lot of art galleries are government owned or sponsored.”
As if this collage is comparable to the great paintings and sculptures, etc. of yesteryear…
A disclaimer at the entrance reads: “Warning: Exhibit contains images intended for a mature audience.”
‘Mature audience’, as if the adult-age folks who enjoy this stuff are in any sense mature…
An OPP officer said he often walks through the gallery, but has never seen “so much excitement.”
Yeah, real ‘mature’ reaction, getting ‘excited’ about it rather than outraged…
Art experts at Toronto universities say a controversial collage depicting hardcore pornography is indeed art.
Which simply shows how debased so-called ‘art’ and ‘art theory’ has become…
Rosalie Maheux’s Sacred Circle XII has raised plenty of eyebrows while on display for a few weeks at the John B. Aird Gallery in Macdonald Block at Queen’s Park. But why is it art?
“If it’s in a gallery, that seems to be a pretty controlled space, but art has always been a forward-thinking medium and artists tend to explore ideas that expand certain notions about what is acceptable,” said Natalie Waldburger, Ada Slaight chairman of contemporary painting and print media at OCAD University. “The context is appropriate.”
She said the piece “can be quite a feminist statement.”
“In the time and place we’re at where female artists are asserting their voice and their own sexuality, it’s a really important piece for that. She’s making the choices and she’s honestly savvy about the role of sexuality in a woman’s life.”
Blah blah blah…
Matthew Brower, a lecturer in museum studies at the University of Toronto, who is familiar with Maheux’s work, said it’s a relevant commentary on society’s relationship with porn.
“Of course it’s art,” he said. “Art needs to talk about things that are affecting people’s lives. It’s reflecting that with the Internet, images of hardcore porn have gone from things on the top shelves, hidden away, to things that are relatively prevalent in the culture.”
Sadly, that is all too true…
And yet the ‘artist’ herself sees it as a good thing, to be celebrated, as do her feminist supporters. (While the equally feminist opposition sees it as exploitation, rather than obscenity, per se.)