April 14 – May 12, 2012

Age of Consent

Works by Kyla Mallett, Wendy Coburn, Rebecca Fin Simonetti, Leslie Peters, Tobias Yves Zintel & Sue de Beer
Curated by Talia Linz

MVS Curatorial Studies Graduating Exhibition

Teenagers are highly visible and highly mythologized agents of contemporary western culture. This demographic is targeted earlier and earlier as consumers, sexual beings and biocapital, with the mass media and advertisers in particular appealing to and exploiting the teenage drive to both conform and individualize. As Anita Harris notes in All About the Girl: “It is primarily as consumer citizens that youth are offered a place in contemporary social life.” Yet being “young” is generally equated with inexperience and uninformed naiveté, and consequently teens are pitched as questionable in the knowledge and articulation of themselves.

The growing presence and power of youth and the deluge of fears and anxieties around their behaviours, desires, and choices, have been reflected in and influenced by popular culture. Artists, musicians and filmmakers provide us with a cultural lineage of “misbehaving” teens, from the idiosyncratic films of John Waters to the recent Twilight series. Ideas of play, excess and experimentation figure large, as does the negotiation of systems of authority and the development and projection of self-identity. Teenagedom is often conveyed (and at times experienced) as flanked by compulsions of socialization and anti-socialization, and much of its representation swings between these poles. So teens are both violent and vulnerable, highly sexualized and innocents needing protection; bored, apathetic and unproductive while also the key to the future.

Age of Consent brings together the work of six Canadian and international artists who look at adolescence in various forms, exploring experiences (real and projected), perceptions (internal and external), myths, dreams and desires connected to this demographic and this time of life. For all the artists, the question of the adult spectator (and creator) begs interrogation. These youthful representations must be, after all, the projection of adult fantasies and desires—idealized, sentimentalized, regretful, abandoned. They tap into the connection between temporality and adolescence, which is often framed as emblematic of the liminal, a transitional phase to move through to achieve a more stable state of being. There is something in the works in Age of Consent that celebrates wading in the uncomfortable unknowing of adolescence, and asks how this paradigmatic period shapes the formation of the self and continues to inform adult subjectivity.

About the Artists

Kyla Mallett completed her MFA at UBC in 2004, after attaining her BFA at Emily Carr College of Art and Design in 2000. Her work consistently deals with the intersection of language and the social realm, utilizing pseudo-anthropological strategies of research, collecting and archiving. She has exhibited at the Canadian Cultural Centre in Paris, Vancouver Art Gallery, Presentation House Gallery, Artspeak, ThreeWalls in Chicago, Southern Alberta Art Gallery, and is included in the upcoming group exhibition Tools for Conviviality at The Power Plant, Toronto. Mallett is an Assistant Professor in Visual Art and Graduate Studies at Emily Carr University.

Wendy Coburn is a Toronto-based artist and educator. Coburn studied at Dundas Valley School of Art, Ontario College of Art, and holds an MFA from Concordia University. Coburn currently teaches sculpture and interdisciplinary courses at OCAD University and is a Fellow at the Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies at the University of Toronto. Coburn’s work has been exhibited and screened nationally and internationally in galleries and festivals including Photophobia, Art Gallery of Hamilton; The Living Effect, Ottawa Art Gallery; MIX: The New York Gay & Lesbian Experimental Film/Video Festival; Transmediale International Media Art Festival, Berlin; Uneasy Pieces, Oakville Galleries; Kassel Documentary Film & Video Festival; and the Dublin Lesbian & Gay Film and Video Festival.

Born in Vancouver in 1985, Rebecca Fin Simonetti graduated in 2009 from OCAD University with a BFA in Drawing and Painting. Simonetti translates her installations, music and performances into works on paper and canvas. She has received numerous awards across mediums, including the Donna MacLean Award and the Eric Freifeld Award for painting. Her work in film has garnered international acclaim, including Best Experimental Film at Cascadia, and Best Drama at Burbank International. Most recently, Simonetti has been featured in CACTUS and Offerings and spent much of the past year in Baltimore where she presented her fourth solo show Are They a Threat.

Toronto-based artist Leslie Peters has been working in video and multi-channel installation for the past 15 years. Her work has been exhibited internationally including exhibitions in the U.K., Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Australia, Peru, Egypt and Italy. In Canada, Peters’s work has shown in screenings and festivals as well as in galleries including The Power Plant, the National Gallery of Canada, Oakville Galleries, Dunlop Art Gallery and the Art Gallery of Ontario. Peters’s work is distributed by Vtape, Toronto.

Tobias Yves Zintel was born in 1975 in Passau, Germany. From 1996 to 2002, he studied at the Catholic University of Eichstätt and LMU Munich. From 2002 to 2007, he was a student of Joseph Kosuth at the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich. Zintel works with photography and video in the junction between music, performance, theater, video and art. His work has been screened at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin, and the Reina Sofia in Madrid as part of Rencontres Internationales 2008, and his 2010 solo exhibition Acid and Ice Creamwas held at Honor Fraser Gallery, Los Angeles. Zintel lives and works in Berlin and is represented by Barbara Gross Gallery, Munich.

Sue de Beer is a graduate of Columbia University and Parsons School of Design, New York. She has exhibited nationally and internationally in such venues as the New Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, MoMA PS1, the Brooklyn Museum, Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt, the Reina Sofia, Madrid and the Museum of Modern Art, Busan. De Beer’s work is in the permanent collections of MoMA, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Goetz Collection, Munich. De Beer lives and works in New York City and is represented by Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York and GalerieChristian Ehrentraut, Berlin.

About the Curator

Originally from Sydney, Australia, Talia Linz is currently based in Toronto where she is undertaking a collaborative Masters in Curating and Sexual Diversity Studies at the University of Toronto. She holds a BA in Performance Theory and Practice from the University of Western Sydney and a MA in Writing from the University of Technology, Sydney. She is an independent writer, former executive producer of arts and culture at FBi Radio 94.5FM and former assistant editor of the quarterly journal Art & Australia.