Valentin Brown: Body Farm
Exhibition Dates: November 8 – December 20, 2019
Opening Reception: November 8, 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Artist Talk: November 30, 2:00 – 4:00 pm
Second Saturday Social: December 14, 2:00 – 4:00 pm
Location: Tangled Art + Disability
401 Richmond St W Ste 122
Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 12:00 – 5:00 pm
About the Exhibition
Is that a mushroom, or his “peen”? Is that a pile of leaves or a pile of bones? Is that the “trunk” of the body? Valentin Brown queers the human body by combining it with forms from nature to create what he calls “soft body horror”—a mythology of monsters that describe his story. Valentin’s story sits at a largely neglected intersection: he is an autistic, trans man who inherited a complicated history of intergenerational trauma. His grotesque guardians express how he makes meaning, through a gaze that is queer, trauma-informed, and on the spectrum.
Through the many eyes (or lack thereof) in the “soft body horror” world, which worms its way to you through the Body Farm, Valentin reframes the loneliness, disquiet, and grief that result from the tangled intersecting parts of who he is. This way of seeing embraces the in-between places, and the places outside the scales on which he has been taught to place importance and meaning. “Soft body horror” gives Valentin space to begin re-experiencing his story in bits and pieces, in a greater context of awe, humour, and hope.
Valentin lives and works in Hamilton, Ontario and is a graduate of the Visual and Creative Arts program at Sheridan College. He has exhibited in group shows at Sheridan College, at the Durham Art Gallery, and in Art Spin Toronto’s 2018 project “Holding Patterns.” In 2019, he was awarded Tangled Art + Disability’s Won Lee Fellowship, and the Intergenerational LGBT Artist Residency. “Body Farm” is Valentin’s first solo exhibition.
This work was produced with the support of the Intergenerational LGBT Artist Residency and Steel City Studio.
For more information visit tangledarts.org
Tangled Art Gallery is in a barrier-free location. Audio description will be available for the exhibit. We will have ASL interpreters and attendant care present during public engagements. Service animals are welcome. We request that you help us to make this a scent-free environment.
Tangled Art Gallery is located in studio 122 on the main floor on the 401 Richmond Building. The closest accessible subway station is at Osgoode Station. The closest accessible streetcar stop is the 510 Spadina Queen Street West Stop (going south from Spadina Station), and the 510 Spadina Richmond Street Stop (going north from Union Station).
Image 1 (The Body Farm says, “MAYDAY! MAYDAY! MAYDAY!”):
A pink monster plucks a white-hot Panic Orb straight out of the middle of your brain. This monster, with his two pronged Peen-head, immediately sensed your reptilian reflexes activating—almost as immediately as your body flushed with fear in the first place. He says that he hears you singing, “MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY,” everyday, and that –today- he will help you sing until your throat is hoarse and the fear stops firing, as it always does eventually.
Image 2 (The Body Farm says, “RELEASE ME RELEASE ME RELEASE ME”):
“Dear You,” says the outstretched Hand of Your Future Self, “I’m so sorry that I left you alone for so long.” One of your Little Lonely Monster Parts is curled up in a ball, unmoving. You can hear their thoughts, and they are screaming: “RELEASE ME, RELEASE ME, RELEASE ME, RELEASE ME,” over and over. Thousands of holy worms stemming from your Future Self envelop your Lonely Part. The Hand of Your Future Self says, “You don’t know yet that it is –your- bioluminescence that lights the tips of my fingers.”