Events > Book Launch

28 Nov. 2009

Book launch for Cheryl Sourkes, Sharon Kivland and Jon Davies

Jon Davies and Sharon Kivland
Cheryl Sourkes
1 pm - 3 pm

Art Metropole was pleased to host a double book launch on Saturday November 28 from 1pm – 3pm, celebrating new publications by Cheryl Sourkes in collaboration with Sharon Kivland, and Jon Davies.

Tons of Webcammer Babes

The publication Tons of Webcammer Babes presents sixteen of Cheryl Sourkes’s vivid images; quintessential documents of ordinary life lived online by habitual home-cammers. Apparently with minimal technology, anyone with the will to can become an actor, a producer, an activist, an exhibitionist, or whatever. Oscillating between description and fiction, Sharon Kivland’s accompanying psychoanalytically nuanced text draws on literature and theory to explore an array of interpretative possibilities.

Trash, A Queer Film Classic

Trash (1970) was arguably the greatest collaboration between director Paul Morrissey and producer Andy Warhol, and a moment of shining glory for their Superstars Joe Dallesandro and Holly Woodlawn. It is a satirical melodrama about a decidedly down-and-out couple: Joe, the hunky but impotent junkie, and Holly, his feisty, sexually frustrated girlfriend. While a depleted Joe passively floats from one oddball situation to another looking for a hit, strong-willed Holly salvages trash from the downtown streets. Despite Morrissey intentions to show that “there’s no difference between a person using drugs and a piece of refuse,” Dallesandro’s and Woodlawn’s performances outshine and eclipse his crudely conservative politic: It is not that human beings become as worthless as trash, but that trash becomes as precious as human beings.

Jon Davies argues that Trash, so comical yet so heartrending, is an allegory for the experiences of Dallesandro, Woodlawn, their co-stars, and countless other human “leftovers,” whose self-fashioning for Warhol and Morrissey’s gaze transformed them – if only fleetingly – from nobodies into somebodies.

Jon is a writer and curator based in Toronto. His writing has appeared in C Magazine, Canadian Art, GLQ, Cinema Scope, and a number of exhibition catalogues and critical anthologies. In 2009 Arsenal Pulp Press published his book on Paul Morrissey’s 1970 film Trash. He has curated numerous film/video screenings and exhibitions including the traveling retrospective People Like Us: The Gossip of Colin Campbell for the Oakville Galleries and Ryan Trecartin: Any Ever at The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery (with Helena Reckitt). He is currently working at the Oakville Galleries.

For more than 25 years, Cheryl Sourkes has had a prolific career in the art world. It is through photography, and over the last several years through new technologies, that this Toronto artist expresses her ideas and concerns. Recurrent themes in her work include language, time, history, the real world versus the virtual world, and the ways we perceive and understand what we see around us.

University and post-graduate studies in sciences, psychology and biology at McGill University in Montreal and Simon Fraser University in Vancouver directed Sourkes to explore behavioural science, physiological processes and awareness. During her studies she discovered photography. Her work is inspired and shaped by her experience of the world around her. Each body of work is closely related to one another.

Selection and editing are an important part of Sourkes’ artistic process. She accumulates elements that inspire her. In her works from the 1980s, she establishes a link between language, illustration and photography. She creates photographic collages from images and words she obtains from different sources. For almost seven years now, Sourkes has been creating artwork using images pulled from webcams and transforming them into still images or videos. In her artwork she raises questions about time and space, public and private space, as well as our understanding of the real world, the virtual world and the social sphere.

Sourkes’ work is exhibited throughout the world and featured in several public and private collections such as the Vancouver Art Gallery, Air Canada, the Canada Council Art Bank, the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, the Concordia University Art Gallery, and the National Gallery of Canada. She regularly writes articles for various publications and frequently curates exhibitions.

Sharon Kivland is an artist and writer working in London and France. Reader in Fine Art at Sheffield Hallam University, she is also a Research Associate of the Centre for Freudian Analysis and Research, London. She has exhibited widely in Europe and North America. Sharon Kivland has dreamt of Rome, been melancholy in Trieste, and had a disturbance of memory in Athens, which can be traced in the publications in the series Freud on Holiday (information as material and CUBEarteditions). Her next holiday book will be published in autumn 2013, after walking in Vienna and the Tyrol. She has recently completed a set of appendices to Freud’s Holidays, on his weather, dining, hotels, and shopping. She forgot her shoes on the steps of the Freud Museum, London, and thought of witty remarks too late on the stairs of the Freud Museum, Vienna, events are recounted in_L’esprit d’escalier_ and An Agent of the Estate. The flowers Freud did not send are recorded in Freud and the Gift of Flowers (with Forbes Morlock), and she has commenced a series of modest pamphlets recounting the incidence of trains, stations, and related railway matters in the Freudian canon, entitled Reisen. Earlier works were conceived in the grands magasins of Paris, where she retreated after walking the streets in pursuit of Marx and Freud, in the shadow of Lacan. She has described her practice as one of stupid refinement, trapped in archives, libraries, the arcades, and the intersection of publicpolitical action and private subjectivity. Recent works for exhibition include amateur watercolours, copied from memory from postcards; ink drawings on blotting paper, unsuccessfully copying buvards; photographs of the smoke of steam trains, the limpid waters of mountain lakes, and the snow on Alpine peaks; and painstaking sketches of women modelling lingerie. She paid her son an enormous amount of money to fill old school exercises books with the indexical references to mother/son relations in Freud’s works, a work tiled Mes Fils exhibited at the Freud Museum, London, in 2011. She is also working her way through the twenty novels of Zola’s Rougon–Macquart cycle, while paying particular attention to a continued rewriting of Nana. At the moment she is eliminating horizons on old postcards of various kinds of sea views, having last year spoilt many postcards of Rome in her attempt to turn them into negatives, and embellishing rather grubby vintage collars of crochet, lace, cotton, with etiquettes declaring that ‘je suis une petite charmeuse’ (and she is, sometimes), associating these with some adorable stuffed squirrels.


2: Film still/cover image.

  1. Cheryl Sourkes - Tons of Webcammer Babes
  2. Jon Davies - Trash, A Queer Film Classic