Gallery 22 opens up erotica in Whitehorse

There is nothing erotic about a toilet seat. At least, not for Dan Bushnell. On Tuesday, the co-curator of Gallery 22's upcoming show Melting Ice: The Erotic Thawing of the Winter Blues is pulling up images on his laptop.

There is nothing erotic about a toilet seat.

At least, not for Dan Bushnell.

On Tuesday, the co-curator of Gallery 22’s upcoming show Melting Ice: The Erotic Thawing of the Winter Blues is pulling up images on his laptop.

They’re erotic images.

But that doesn’t mean they’re pornographic.

One is a toilet seat with a paper band across it. Another is of graffiti.

Created by Natalie Edelson, the images will be part of a collage that viewers can move around during the show.

In the corner of Bushnell’s office there’s more art, waiting to be hung in the empty gallery next door.

Milk cartons hold glasswork by Amy Ellis.

The glass is bubbled, like goose bumps, with a feather brushing over its smooth surface.

“Now, that’s a nice exploration of the erotic,” he said.

Bushnell saw his first erotica shows in BC, on Saltspring Island and the Sunshine Coast.

They stuck with him, and soon the local tattoo artist started toying with the idea of hosting a similar show in Whitehorse.

Timing it with Rendezvous is an added perk.

“We can play into all that,” he said.

And an erotica show gives artists a chance to branch out and do something different, said Bushnell.

That’s what Gallery 22 above Triple J’s Music Cafe is trying to do -“push art’s boundaries and show art with some edge, so we challenge ourselves,” he said.

On a table, waiting to be hung, are a stack of laminated photos on canvas.

Most of them are breasts, captured by Christian Kuntz.

More photos are pasted to a round piece of plywood that spins – snapshots of friends in body paint in various positions taken by Claire Strauss.

The erotic is very subjective, said Bushnell, who juried the show along with co-curator Jodi Mikeli-Jones.

It’s the first time a show at the gallery has been juried. The decision was made because of the touchy subject matter.

Bushnell didn’t want any porn to filter into the gallery.

But when it comes to the difference between porn and erotica, nothing is cut and dried, said Bushnell.

“I just tried to go with my gut reaction,” he said.

Some of the art is delicate, like Dawn MacDonald’s crocheted lingerie.

Some is more raunchy, like a steamy

text-message conversation that’s going to play out between two bears on an iPad.

And some is just confusing.

“Sometimes there was work we clearly didn’t understand,” said Bushnell, mentioning a photo of meat.

But sometimes, that’s the point.

Erin Corbett has created huge drawings of monsters for the show.

“Human sexuality is generally portrayed in a formulaic way,” she said in a release.

“In public media, sex is most often heterosexual and limited to caresses and eye contact.

“In pornography, intimacy and fun are often lost to accommodate stereotyped fetishes and the ‘money shot.’”

As a result, “the giggling, the awkwardness, the creativity … and the humanity of real intimate moments” are lost, she said.

That’s why Corbett decided to draw monsters – some in a threesome, and another young mutant grappling with lust and intimacy.

“These monsters are showing you only a fraction of what they can do,” said Corbett in the release.

“Their sex lives can remind us that

within sexual experience, there is infinite potential.”

This show has given artists the chance to explore something intimate and share it, said Bushnell.

“And what people take away is intimate too.”

The show is rated 18 and over, partly to protect Triple J’s from angry parents’ phone calls.

“We have a lot of young customers,” said Bushnell.

“And we want to be a positive part of this community.”

But most of the show doesn’t warrant an age restriction.

“We are not doing this to create a controversy,” he said.

“We just wanted to create a show that is fun, exciting and different.

“And we hope people will enjoy the work and relax a little and loosen up after the winter.”

Melting Ice opens on Thursday, February 17th at 7 p.m.

Contact Genesee Keevil at

gkeevil@yukon-news.com

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