Proof 21

Michelle O'Byrne, Untitled, collage, 2013

Aidan Cowling, Craigslist #2, black and white photo transfer and graphite on cotton rag paper, 2013

Lindsay Fisher, still from the video It's just that easy, 2013

Brett Gundlock, The Living, digital c-print, 2012 

Megan Morman, Morgan Sea, fusible plastic bead portrait, 2013 

Proof 21, installation view at G44, photo by Morris Lum

Proof 21, installation view at G44, photo by Morris Lum

Proof 21, installation view at G44, photo by Morris Lum

Proof 21

Friday, June 20, 2014 to Saturday, July 26, 2014
Opening Reception
June 20,
6:00PM to 8:00PM
Walk through with the artists
June 20,
5:00PM to 6:00PM
About the Exhibition: 

Proof is Gallery 44’s annual exhibition of photo-based work by Canadian emerging artists reflecting a range of current concerns and practices in contemporary photography from across the country. Proof  is often one of the first exhibitions in a professional context for an emerging artist as was the case for artists such as Karin Bubas, Janieta Eyre, Isabelle Hayeur, Germaine Koh, Nicholas Pye, Althea Thauberger, and Andrew Wright.

In celebration of WorldPride 2014, which will be hosted by Toronto from June 20 – 29, 2014, Proof 21 is taking on a thematic focus for the first time. In keeping with WorldPride 2014 Toronto’s mission, Proof 21 provides a platform for highlighting human rights issues and activism, while exploring identity, gender and sexual politics and constructs and the politics of representation. 

The featured artists in Proof 21 offer unique approaches to the thematically centred exhibition. Brett Gundlock explores activism and resistance through documenting the small town of Cheran (just west of Mexico City) the residence of which drove out corrupt, exploitative loggers using fireworks and rocks, inciting revolution and social change. While Michelle O'Byrne traces the surplus value contained in images and objects through revealing widely held social mythologies and addressing representation in pop culture. Megan Morman takes a celebratory turn with her large-scale portraits made of thousands of fusible, plastic beads. The bead portraits are based on photos of notable queer artists, through which Megan designs her fantasy art party. Finally Aidan Cowling and Lindsay Fisher turn their attention to the Internet. Lindsay recreates, and in the process reclaims, on-line video blogging and instructional 'how-to' videos that perpetuate standard notions of beauty and normalcy. While Aidan explores abstract ways desire and the queer experience are visualized and represented via digital ephemera. Whether overt or subtle each artist is deeply committed to exploring representation and identity; subversion of heteronorms; and the questioning of widely held social codes.

Proof 21 Jury: Steven Beckly, Noa Bronstein, John G Hampton, Morris Lum



Tuesday, July 15 | 6:30pm (in the Gladstone Ballroom, 1214 Queen St W)

A series of 6 minute talks featuring Proof artists and artists from the Gladstone Hotel's annual Pride exhibition That's So Gay


Artist Biography: 

Aidan Cowling is a Toronto-based artist and curator who works in a variety of media including photography, installation, maps and web-based projects. His work explores the intersection of queerness and materiality and attempts to uncover the landscapes and language of sexual liberation.  He is a part of various collectives and has been shown in galleries internationally including Yogiga Gallery, Hangram Design Museum, Gallery 44, YYZ, and Xpace.

Based in Toronto, Canada, Brett Gundlock is a freelance photographer and founding member of the Boreal Collective. After working for three years as a staff photographer at National Post, Gundlock struck out on his own. He now divides his time between assignment work and personal photographic interests. Gundlock’s images explore the subcultures that exist in tandem with mainstream culture. Skinheads, 2010 G-20 detainees, and recent immigrants are several of the marginalized groups Gundlock has worked with. In 2014, he will be continuing to create work in Mexico and the Alberta Oil Sands. The intersections of journalism and conceptual art are a continued focus for Gundlock’s photography. Blurring the arbitrary boundaries between these photographic styles is one of his frequent explorations.

Lindsay Fisher is a visual artist with various practices in digital media, photography, illustration, textiles and graphic arts. Her work often reflects an investigation into identity, the body, and notions of difference. Her recent work in digital media and embroidery explores representations of gender and sexuality within the context of online media with an interest in how individuals negotiate, interact and experience different understandings of sex and gender. Lindsay holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Emily Carr University and a Bachelor of Graphic Design from OCAD University. She currently works in Toronto.

Michelle O'Byrne was born in Dublin, Ireland and currently resides in Vancouver. She holds a BFA in Photographic Studies from Ryerson University and is currently completing an MA in Visual Arts at Emily Carr University of Art & Design. Her work has been exhibited in various galleries across Canada and internationally.

Megan Morman’s transdisciplinary visual practice explores the roles of gossip, storytelling, and play in establishing the professional identities of artists and cultural workers. Her portraits and text-based installations have shown in solo exhibitions at galleries across Canada, including the Art Gallery of Alberta (Edmonton), Stride (Calgary), Neutral Ground (Regina), Artspace (Peterborough), & Galerie Sans Nom (Moncton). Morman grew up in rural Minnesota, and spent 15 years working in queer/arts non-profits in Saskatoon before moving to Lethbridge in 2012.


Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay is an artist and diarist.  His work in video, sound, and text contemplates the history of song, the rendering of love and emotion into language, and the resurrection and manipulation of voices from history - sung, spoken or screamed.  Nemerofsky’s work has been exhibited internationally, appearing in numerous private collections as well as the National Gallery of Canada and the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna.  

Erin Silver completed a PhD in Art History and Gender & Women’s Studies at McGill University in 2013, focusing on queer and feminist cultural production. She has curated exhibitions at the FOFA Gallery and at the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives, and is working on an exhibition on immersion and synesthesia in queer intermedia practices, to open at the Doris McCarthy Gallery in 2015. Her writing has been published in C MagazineCiel VariableFuse Magazine, and No More Potlucks. She is co-editing (with Amelia Jones) a volume entitled Sexual Differences and Otherwise: Imagining Queer Feminist Art Histories (Manchester University Press, forthcoming).


Syrus Marcus Ware is a visual artist, community activist, researcher, youth advocate, and educator. He is the Program Coordinator of the AGO Youth Program, Art Gallery of Ontario.  As a visual artist, Syrus works within the mediums of painting, installation and performance to challenge systemic oppression. Syrus’ work explores the spaces between and around identities, acting as provocations to our understandings of gender, sexuality and race.  His work has been exhibited at the University of Lethbridge Art Gallery, Art Gallery of York University (AGYU), Gladstone Hotel, ASpace Gallery, Harbourfront Centre, SPIN Gallery and other galleries across Canada.  His work has been reproduced in FUSE Magazine, The Globe and Mail, THIS Magazine, Blackness and Sexualities (among others). His work has also been included in several academic journals including Small Axe and Women and Environment International.

Novelist, poet, filmmaker, director, actor, and drag queen extraordinaire... Sky Gilbert is one of Canada’s most controversial artistic forces. He was the co-founder and Artistic Director of Buddies in Bad Times Theatre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, for 18 years. In 1997 Sky Gilbert left Buddies to have more time for creative pursuits. At Buddies, Gilbert wrote and directed his own hit plays including THE DRESSING GOWN (published by the Playwright’s Union 1989) and PLAYMURDER (published by Blizzard in 1995). Sky started making films in 1990 and has written/directed/produced three films which have played at film festivals around the world including Hong Kong, London, San Francisco, LA and Melbourne. Sky has published 5 novels—most recently Brother Dumb (2007 ECW Press) which was described by Canada’s Quill and Quire as “a well paced and provocative book that sets itself an enormous creative challenge.” Sky is also an Assistant Professor in The School of English and Theatre Studies at Guelph University. In 2005 Sky received his PhD from the University of Toronto, and in 2006 he was honoured to be named University Research Chair in Creative Writing and Theatre Studies at Guelph.