Out and About
Cooper Cole Gallery showcases Genesis BREYER P-ORRIDGE and G.B. Jones – on until Oct 20, 2018 (Toronto)
This Toronto art exhibition snuck up on me, yet it’s one of the best pairing of individuals I could ever imagine. The wonder-mind works of Genesis BREYER P-ORRIDGE are displayed alongside Toronto’s own original riot-gal, G.B. Jones.
Genesis BREYER P-ORRIDGE exemplifies what an artist could become when raised before the cynical machinations of late capitalism distorted our collective beliefs in the artist’s obligation to uphold integrity, resistance, and sacrifice. Befriended and tutored by the likes of William S. Burroughs, Brion Gysin, and Timothy Leary, BREYER P-ORRIDGE is one of the last surviving inheritors of a truly radical, visionary tradition. As a living rebuke to the prevailing populist mediocrities of contemporary culture since the mid-70s, s/he has remained perennially relevant ever since s/he first blazed the trail for a rethink of the entire musical landscape as part of the legendarily confrontational quartet, Throbbing Gristle.
BREYER P-ORRIDGE has, in every incarnation, remained a dedicated visual artist. As a pioneer of the early Mail Art movement, s/he has created a body of work encompassing sculpture, drawing, design, video, photography, poetry, performance, and expanded collage. H/er artistic contributions have been noted and lauded in hundreds of books and publications, yet s/he still remains chiefly sought-after by the most forward-thinking collectors and progressive institutions. For modern minds, half-melted by the barrage of online over-stimulation, it’s worth a reminder that many of BREYER P-ORRIDGE’s artworks were considered taboo-breaking in the extreme; not merely in their portrayal of sexuality, but for their portrayal of love. Collaborating with h/er wife, Jaqueline ‘Lady Jaye’ BREYER P-ORRIDGE (1969-2007), they embarked on a plan to undo the binaries that limit so much of our thinking by putting their bodies, quite literally, on the line. Through a series of surgeries, Genesis and Lady Jaye progressively moved towards becoming each other; a collective being, neither female nor male, that could escape the labels the world cattle-brands us with. They called this new being a pandrogyne, and many of the works in this exhibition are taken from this transformative phase, when BREYER P-ORRIDGE (their collective name) worked as a duo, using artworks to document their escape from our limited, binary hell into a quaquaversal, pandrogyne heaven.
The photographs, collages and sculptures easily evoke wonderfully perverted aesthetes like Pierre Molinier, the more paraphiliac byways of surrealism and Dada, replete with distinctly 60s and 80s motifs. Yet there’s an enduring connection to the broader world in these pieces, something that stretches outside the bounds of the perpetual backwash of contemporary art. In many of the works BREYER P-ORRIDGE’s longstanding relationship with traditional spiritual practices comes to the fore. The multi-faith spiritual cultures of Nepal (where s/he frequently traveled to aid refugees, befriending many of the monks, sadhus and other holy people), psychedelics, and other forms of psychic and emotional re-orientation spike the works with something that makes them more than mere visual art.
Amid the licentiousness and joy inherent in these pieces there is also an undeniable current of tragedy. In 2007, Lady Jaye shed her body, leaving her heartbroken other half to continue their legacy. No matter how close one might be with one’s family, spouse or lover, there is no denying that the connection that Genesis and Jaye shared was unique. In its fearlessness, their relationship stands as a testament to unselfish romantic love, and to the lengths people might go to fully understand and love one another. Not only another, but to love and become The Other, and perhaps this is what gives BREYER P-ORRIDGE such startling, continued relevance.
Genesis BREYER P-ORRIDGE is also an English singer-songwriter, musician, poet, performance artist, and occultist. After rising to notability as the founder of the COUM Transmissions artistic collective and then fronting the industrial band Throbbing Gristle, BREYER P-ORRIDGE was a founding member of Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth occult group, and fronted the experimental band Psychic TV. BREYER P-ORRIDGE has been cited as an icon within the avant-garde art scene, accrued a cult following, and been given the moniker of the “Godperson of Industrial Music”. Genesis BREYER P-ORRIDGE currently lives in New York, USA.
View Genesis BREYER P-ORRIDGE’s exhibition pieces here.
G. B. Jones is a Canadian artist, filmmaker, musician, and publisher of ‘zines, based in Toronto. Her artwork has been featured at galleries around the world, and her films screened at numerous film festivals, both in Canada and abroad. Her most recent musical project is Opera Arcana, founded in collaboration with Minus Smile of Kids on TV.
Solo exhibitions include Past Present Future, 2011, Lexander, LA; La-bas, 2008, La Centrale Galerie, Montreal; Rise Up Thou Earth, 2007, Sunday, NY; Good. Bad. G.B. Jones, 1996, Or Gallery, Vancouver, curated by Reid Shier; Girly Pictures, 1994, Mercer Union, Toronto, curated by Shonagh Adelman; and Feature, Inc., 1991, NY. Group exhibitions include Coming to Power: 25 Years of Sexually X-Plicit Art by Women, 2016, Maccarone, NY, organized by Pati Hertling and Julie Tolentino; This Will Have Been: Art, Love and Politics in the 1990s, 2012, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Walker Arts Center, Minneapolis, and ICA, Boston, curated by Helen Molesworth; IN NUMBERS: Serial Publications by Artists since 1955, 2010, X Initiative, NY, curated by Andrew Roth and Phil Aarons; Tom of Finland and then some, 2010, Feature, Inc., NY; Smell It!, 2009, Kunsthalle Exnergasse, Vienna, curated by Dietmar Schwarzler; Ad Memoriam, 2008, Exile, Berlin, curated by Joel Gibb; Shared Women, 2007, LA Contemporary Exhibitions, curated by Eve Fowler, Emily Roysdon, A.L. Steiner; Wear Me Out, 2005, One Archives, LA, curated by Tania Hammidi; Pink Steam: Artists Respond To Kevin Killian and Dodie Bellamy, 2004, SF Public Library, curated by Colter Jacobson; Practice More Failure, 2004, Art In General, curated by LTTR; Drawing: The End Of The Line, 2003, Ecole Municipale de Dessin, Paris; The J.D.s Years, 1999, Art Metropole, Toronto, curated by Luis Jacob; Sugar, Sex, Magik, 1998, Brasilica, Berlin; Fictions, 1996, Guido Carbone, Turin, curated by Marcella Beccaria; Beauty #2, 1995, The Power Plant, Toronto, curated by Philip Monk; In A Different Light, 1995, University Art Museum, University of California, Berkeley, curated by Larry Rinder and Nayland Blake; Stonewall 25, 1984, White Columns, NY, curated by Bill Arning; (Tiny) SHOES, 1994, New Langton Arts, SF, curated by D-L Alvarez; The Use Of Pleasure, 1994, Terrain, SF, curated by Bob Nickas; Tom of Finland, G.B. Jones, 1993, Daniel Buchholz, Cologne; Eau de Cologne 1983-1993, 1993, Monica Spruth, Cologne; Coming To Power: 25 Years Of Sexually X- plicit Art By Women, 1993, David Zwirner, NY, curated by Ellen Cantor; Part Fantasy, 1992, Trial Balloon 2, NY, curated by Nicola Tyson; Drawings, 1992, Stuart Regen, LA; Stephen Dillemuth and Joseph Strau, 1992, Forum Stadtpark, Graz, Austria; Situation, 1991, New Langton Arts, SF, curated by Pam Gregg and Nayland Blake; and All But The Obvious, LA Contemporary Exhibitions, 1990. G.B. Jones lives and works in Toronto, Canada.
View G.B. Jones exhibition pieces here.
About the Author
Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.