A Sex Show, 2024 at Gallery 1313

Outside the door of Gallery 1313 I read a cautionary sign warning me that there is mature content inside the gallery and that I might find the work offensive. These days that is quite the grocery list. I have been to A Sex Show at the Gallery before and found it entertaining but not offensive. Entering the room, I am gobsmacked by a large black sculptural work “Suckle” by artist Anna Golding. It is a work created during her studies at Guelph University Art Program I am told by the curator & gallery director, Phil Anderson. There are many other works in the two galleries that are equally compelling. Some works are a little more graphic but mostly everything is tasteful and well executed.

Installation view with Suckle by Anna Golding, free hand spray paint on plywood, 8 x 8 ft

Raffi Anderian’s “Selfie” is a 40 x 29 inches oil on panel that “explores a modern take on the classical figure with an emphasis on exhibitionism and empowerment.” Anderian is an editorial illustrator by day and has worked at the Toronto Star and other publications.

Raffi Anderian, Selfie, oil on panel, 40 x 29 inches, detail

Ken Vincent’s “Aphrodite Unbound (Torse Antique)” is an oil on linen work that fuses the classical elements with a suggestion of bondage. “Cane Marks (Blue Bliss)”, an oil on canvas by Christine Hirtescu, is well done and looks painful.

Ken Vincent, Aphrodite Unbound (Torse Antique), oil on linen, 18 x 24 inches

Christine Hirtescu, Cane Marks (Blue Bliss), oil on canvas, 18 x 24 inches

Gina Daloisio’s “Boob Lights”, a mixed media work, lightens up things, though they don’t actually give off any light. These fixtures have nipples made of silicone. There are several more amusing moments in this eclectic exhibition, such as the 5 photographs of penises from Miska Peachka’s “Misster Dress up” series, that have been outfitted in various costumes. I am told by the curator that the artist actually has a book with about 50 of these individual penises…. dressed up.

Gina Daloisio, Boob Lights, mixed media

Another artist has a series of take-offs on pop culture with a little S & M themed reference. Tommy Feiler’s giclee print, “Suck” is hard to miss with its colourful lollipop standing erect… a good pop piece, such as is “Tease” by Queen Rebel Empire, a glossy resin painting with tassels and the caption NO VACANCY.

Tommy Feiler, Suck, giclee print, 37 x 37 inches

I liked “The Sleeper” by Courtney McKay Fairweather an acrylic on canvas work with a female figure lying back in a blue sea.

Courtney McKay Fairweather, The Sleeper, acrylic on canvas, 20 x 16 inches

Mahsa Hosseini, an Iranian Canadian artist, explored cultural norms with her gold framed sculptural work made of iron, “Iron Hymen” with blood on the floor, that addresses the loss of virginity after marriage in Iran. Robert Owen’s “(PROP)ed and Ready” sculpture addresses meds used to treat HIV.

Robert Owen, (PREP)ed and Ready, sculpture, 5 x 4.9 x 5 inches

“La Performance Des Filles” by Alsa St. Rose is another painting with a female figure in the throws of orgasm. I was told that this is her first exhibition. Another work in the Process Gallery is “For the Summer” by Michelle Phu that caught my eye. Back in the main gallery is the colourful work of Mariia Charute, a Ukrainian artist, titled “Lady Luck”.  

Alsa St. Rose, La Performance Des Filles, acrylic on canvas, 24 x 36 inches

Michelle Phu, For the Summer, acrylic on canvas, 40 x 30 inches

Mariia Charute, Lady Luck, acrylic on canvas panel, 30 x 30 inches

There is a lot of engaging works to see in this curated group show. It is an annual exhibition that takes a few risks and gives artists a rare opportunity to express their thoughts about sex. Surprisingly, there are few other galleries that are open to this subject matter.

Ashley Rowe Flick

Images are courtesy of Gallery 1313.

*Exhibition information: A Sex Show / Group exhibition, February 14 – 25, 2024, Gallery 1313, 1313 Queen St. West, Toronto. Gallery hours: Wed – Sat 1 – 5 pm, Sun 1 – 4 pm.

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