Female Impersonators: Women Performing Women

Gallery 1C03


Rebecca Belmore, Victorious (video still), 2007.

March 13, 2013 at 7:30 p.m.

Gallery 1C03 at The University of Winnipeg in partnership with the Institute for Women’s and Gender Studies (IWGS) are pleased to present a special program of videos by Manitoba women artists.

Presented in conjunction with International Women’s Day celebrations and as a complement to Gallery 1C03’s Herstory exhibition, Female Impersonators: Women Performing Women has been curated by internationally renowned performance artists Shawna Dempsey & Lorri Millan and will be followed by a panel discussion on feminist video and performance art with Sharon Alward, J. J. Kegan McFadden and Divya Mehra. The program and panel take place on Wednesday, March 13 at 7:00 p.m. in Eckhardt-Gramatté Hall at The University of Winnipeg. Come to watch the videos and then take part in the discussion with local feminist artists/cultural producers.

Dempsey and Millan write: “Although, camp has traditionally been the territory of gay men, it has also long been employed by feminist performance artists as a means to critique gender and other culturally held absurdities through exaggeration, masquerade and irony. Camp refutes all boundaries (good taste among them), by enacting norms to death. Like drag queens who clothe themselves in a heightened idea of womanhood, feminist artists have long laid bare the absurd rules of gender through its impersonation.

All gender is a performance. Manitoba women artists, beginning with pioneer Wendy Geller, have used video to document this game of dress-up with biting satirical force. Since Geller, others have melded performance and electronic media with social commentary, revealing sex roles through their exaggeration, and pillorying a panoply of deserving targets including colonization, religion and pop culture.

The videos in this single channel program of Manitoba works span twenty years from the late 1980s to the late 2000s. Each one peels back the surface of identity with intelligent humour. They mercilessly critique the overt and insidious impacts of patriarchy, bending assumptions about gender, orientation, history, sexuality, race and ethnicity along the way. In doing so, they insist on new readings of what it is to identify as female, broadening the definition to encompass a multiplicity of experience. Many express the most unladylike emotion—rage—and through its articulation urgently insist on social change.”

Female Impersonators: Women Performing Women will include videos by Sharon Alward, Rebecca Belmore, Wendy Geller, Christine Kirouac, Divya Mehra, Freya Bjorg Olafson, Victoria Prince, Nicole Shimonek, Lori Weidenhammer & Donna Lewis.

This event is FREE, open to all, and will take place in Eckhardt-Gramatté Hall, located on the third floor of Centennial Hall at The University of Winnipeg. For more information please contact Jennifer Gibson at 204-786-9253.

We gratefully acknowledge financial assistance from the Canada Council for the Arts for this project.

Jennifer Gibson
Gallery 1C03
The University of Winnipeg
515 Portage Avenue
Winnipeg, MB  R3B 2E9
Ph: 204.786.9253
F: 204.774.4134