Erica Stocking: MotherGinger Promenade Performance & Reception

AGYU (Art Gallery of York University)

Erica Stocking, MotherGinger Promenade, 2023. Courtesy the artist.

Saturday June 10, 2023 at 3pm
Performance at 3pm & Reception at 4pm

AGYU is pleased to host a special performance by Erica Stocking as part of MotherGinger Promenade. The performance charts a path through the emergence of fashion as a discipline within modernism in late nineteenth century Paris, its entanglement in rhythms and spaces of visibility, and the social and material conditions of movement. Inspired by early examples of public promenades (such as those on the Bois de Boulogne in Paris after its redevelopment as a society gathering point in the late 1800s), as spaces where economic, social, and aesthetic interests come together in an event of looking and being seen, Stocking invites you to consider: what is a closet and where can it take you?

The performance builds on Stocking’s ongoing project, MotherGinger, named after the iconic drag character from Russian composer Tchaikovsky’s ballet The Nutcracker. By referencing this figure, characterized by a massive dress that houses eight children, Stocking foregrounds the connection between mothers as producers of human bodies for labour, Western industrialization, and the blurring of the boundary between leisure and work.

Stocking has developed MotherGinger as a brand, with multiple forms from performances to pop-up shops. Situating itself within fashion as a conceptual framework, this project considers the ways that gender, fashion, Western modernism, subjectivity, and survival intertwine within this balletic character.

Engaging both container technologies and the character’s roots in the Zanni characters of commedia dell’arte, MotherGinger Promenade is an invitation, a monologue, and a fashion show.

Exhibition: AGYU Vitrines
May 27 – December 2, 2023

For this installation of MotherGinger, Erica Stocking has transformed the AGYU vitrines into stylized containers — evoking closets, window displays, and travel trunks. In calling attention to the structure of the vitrines, and their role as containers, this installation echoes the writing of Australian researcher Zoë Sofia on “container technologies,” who highlights the significant role of containers throughout history, including vessels and a myriad of objects and devices frequently associated with women’s labour. For Sofia, as well as for Stocking, containment is not passive; it is active and integral, exemplified by human beings’ inextricable entanglement and reliance on their own container, their own environment.

The AGYU vitrines are situated in the colonnade of the Accolade East Building, a space designed for movement. To promenade is to move with the intent of display, and, in this iteration of MotherGinger, garments made from domestic household materials and found objects displayed in the vitrines are removed, worn, and later returned in a series of performances that echo the movement of clothing through private and public spaces, testing what it means to be seen.

Erica Stocking: MotherGinger Promenade is curated by Clara Halpern, Assistant Curator, Exhibitions, AGYU.

Erica Stocking is an artist working at the intersection of sculpture, performance, and installation. Her work has been exhibited in Canada at Artspeak, Mercer Union, The Western Front, and at the Contemporary Art Gallery. Stocking’s public artworks are part of the City of Vancouver, City of Surrey, and SFU Community Trust Collections. She received her BFA from Emily Carr Institute in 2004, and recently completed an MFA at OCAD University in 2021. Stocking lives and works in Toronto and is currently pursuing her PhD in Visual Arts at York University.

Exhibition view: Spaces of Subjection: Imaging Imaginations II, 2022 in Meleko Mokgosi: Imaging Imaginations, Art Gallery of York University, Toronto (January 20 – June 10, 2023). Courtesy the Art Gallery of York University. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid.

June 10: Last day to visit Meleko Mokgosi: Imaging Imaginations in the AGYU Gallery

Through large-scale figurative paintings depicting quotidian life to delicate portraits rendered in etching, Meleko Mokgosi debuts work in his first solo exhibition in Canada that reflexively addresses the role of images in mediating our sense of self and our relation to others. Curated by Felicia Mings, Curator, AGYU.

For press inquiries, please contact Clara Halpern:
For accessibility requests, please contact Maria Won:

The Art Gallery of York University (AGYU) is a public, university-affiliated, non-profit contemporary art gallery supported by York University, Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Council, and by our membership.

York University acknowledges its presence on the traditional territory of many Indigenous Nations. The area known as Tkaronto has been taken care of by the Anishinabek Nation, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, and the Huron-Wendat. It is now home to many Indigenous Peoples from numerous First Nations, MĂ©tis, and Inuit communities. We acknowledge the current treaty holders, the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation.

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We are committed to anti-racism and working to eradicate institutional biases and develop accountable programs that support Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour.

Art Gallery of York University
Accolade East Building
83 York Boulevard
Toronto ON M3J 1P3

AGYU gallery hours are 12 to 5, Tuesday to Saturday, during exhibitions. AGYU vitrines can be accessed at any time.