FORWARD FACING at Critical Distance


at Critical Distance

APRIL 21–JUNE 3, 2018

Opening reception: Saturday, April 21st from 2–4 pm

Curated by CASS GARDINER and presented in partnership with ABORIGINAL CURATORIAL COLLECTIVE

In partnership with Aboriginal Curatorial Collective–Collectif des commissaires autochtones, Critical Distance is pleased to present FORWARD FACING, a Featured Exhibition of the 2018 Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival.Curated by Cass Gardiner (Toronto/Brooklyn), Forward Facing is an exhibition that examines intersectionality within Indigenous identity through the photographic, video, craft, and installation practices of Dayna Danger (Montreal), Lacie Burning (Vancouver), and Jade Nasogaluak Carpenter (Calgary).

Indigenous people from across Turtle Island express and assert their identity in conversation with their cultural roots in a multitude of ways, and always in tandem with ever-looming colonialism. Utilizing the device of the mask, the artists in Forward Facing provoke and question how the face—or the absence of it—creates a powerful commentary on contemporary Indigenous culture. Carpenter utilizes a full body disguise of a bed sheet; Burning, a mask made of mirror and light; Danger recalls BDSM masks of leather and beads. Yet despite the vast difference of materiality and practice, Forward Facing illustrates how the masks function as a signifier of solidarity and safety for these artists and their respective communities.

Exhibition on view at Critical Distance:
180 Shaw Street, Suite 302 at Artscape Youngplace, M6J 2W5
Admission is always free; building and gallery are fully accessible.
Google Map

Gallery hours through June 3rd:
Thursday–Sunday from 12–5 pm


Forward Facing Opening with Curator’s Talk
Saturday, April 21 from 2-4 pm
Critical Distance, Suite 302 at Artscape Youngplace

Join us for a very special reception with Toronto/Brooklyn-based curator Cass Gardiner, featuring a tour of the exhibition followed by beverages and bites courtesy of Pow Wow Cafe. Stay for artists’ performance at 5 pm.

Performance featuring Dayna Danger, Lacie Burning, and Kandace Price
Saturday, April 21 starting at 5 pm
Critical Distance, Suite 302 at Artscape Youngplace

A performance by three collaborators negotiating time, boundaries, and songs.

Bike Tube Flogger-Making Workshop with Dayna Danger
Sunday, April 22 from 2-4 pm
SKETCH Project Studio, Lower Level at Artscape Youngplace

Make your own mini flogger from rubber bike tubes in this hands-on workshop with Dayna Danger. Materials included. Contact us at rsvp (at) criticaldistance (dot) ca to inquire/register.

About the Artists and Curator

Lacie Burning is a Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) and Onondaga artist and curator raised on Six Nations of the Grand River located in Southern Ontario. They work in photography, video, installation, and sculpture and are currently studying at Emily Carr University of Art + Design. Having come from a culturally and politically grounded upbringing, their work focuses on politics of Indigeneity and identity from a Haudenosaunee perspective. Burning recently collaborated with Indigenous Editor-at-Large Lindsay Nixon on a feature article for Canadian Art Magazine’s 2018 winter issue, titled LAND/BODY/RECIPROCITY. They also co-curated Unsettling Colonial Gender Boundaries with June Scudeler for Queer Arts Festival in partnership with Vancouver Indigenous Media Arts Festival and sit on the board for VIMAF. They have just been nominated for the Philip B. Lind Emerging Artist Prize in conjunction with Vancouver’s 2018 Capture Photography Festival.

Jade Nasogaluak Carpenter is an Inuvialuk artist and curator based in Calgary/Banff, born in Yellowknife and raised in Edmonton. She currently holds the Indigenous Curatorial Research Practicum at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity and received a diploma in Fine Art from Grant MacEwan University and a Bachelor in Fine Arts from the Alberta College of Art and Design in 2016. Carpenter uses art and humour as a coping mechanism to subtly address cultural displacement, and to openly address mental illness; the lighthearted nature of her practice extends gestures of empathy and solidarity. These interests invite a reconsideration of the perceptions of contemporary Indigeneity and counter the stigmatism surrounding mental health.

Dayna Danger is a 2Spirit, Metis-Anishinaabe (Saulteaux)-Polish visual artist raised in so-called Winnipeg, MB. Utilizing photography, sculpture, performance and video, Danger‘s practice questions the line between empowerment and objectification by claiming space with her larger than life scale work. Her current use of BDSM and beading leather fetish masks explores the complicated dynamics of sexuality, gender, and power in a consensual and feminist manner. Danger is currently based in Tio’tia:ke – Moniang. She holds an MFA in Photography from Concordia University and has exhibited her work in Santa Fe, Winnipeg, Montreal, Peterborough, North Bay, Vancouver, Edmonton and Banff. Danger currently serves as a board member for the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective.

Cass Gardiner is an emerging Anishinaabe Algonquin curator, artist, and filmmaker. She is the co-founder of Matters Unsettled, a curatorial collective that uses the gallery to challenge preconceived notions of culture, identity, and belonging focusing on marginalized people. Gardiner was a 2017 Emerging Curatorial Fellow at the Center for Craft, Creativity and Design (CCCD) in Asheville, North Carolina, USA. Her inaugural show with Matters Unsettled, Crafted Strangers, was at the CCCD’s Benchspace Gallery in Fall 2017. Her critically acclaimed film The Edible Indian has screened in classrooms and theatres internationally and was nominated for Best Documentary Short at the 2014 American Indian Film Festival. Gardiner holds an MFA from Ryerson University and a BA from NYU Gallatin School of Individualized Study.

Partnership Aboriginal Curatorial Collective

The ACC/CCA has partnered with Critical Distance for this exhibition working on development and structure facilitating Indigenous work with Indigenous artists and Indigenous curators. We are very happy for the continued support of our partners and excited to see projects of this type moving forward.

Critical Distance and Aboriginal Curatorial Collective are grateful for the support of the Toronto Arts Council in making this exhibition possible.

Composite image above includes Lacie Burning, Untitled from Reflection Series, 2017 (left); Dayna Danger, Kandace, 2017 (centre); and Jade Nasogaluak Carpenter, If you can’t remember, then it must not be important. (still), 2016 (right). All images courtesy the artists. News, press, publications and more information. FORWARD FACING media release (PDF)

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