27 November 2010 – 20 February 2011

Oakville Galleries in Gairloch Gardens & at Centennial Square

Oakville Galleries is pleased to present Un-home-ly, a group exhibition that considers the currency of the uncanny in contemporary feminist art practice.

In his 1919 paper, “The Uncanny," Sigmund Freud deftly charts the evolution of the German word Heimlich. Once near-synonymous with Gemütlichkeit—the security and reassurance of the domestic, the familiar—Freud notes that the connotations of Heimlich have wandered over time, coming to mark the concealed, secret or strange. Building on the work of German psychiatrist Ernst Jentsch, Freud used the notion of the Unheimlich (the uncanny) to capture this particular turn from ordinary to bizarre, and the discomfort that often accompanies it.

Titled after the literal translation of Unheimlich, Un-home-ly assembles works in painting, sculpture, video and photography to highlight the feminist tendency toward prodigious articulations of the commonplace—the domestic, the social, the corporeal—as a means to examine the realities of contemporary life.

Drawing variously on themes of domesticity, sexuality, comportment, and art history, the participating artists share an investment in altering the threshold of the noticed to bring into view that which may, at first glance, seem unexceptional. In mining the tension between the familiar and the strange, the attractive and the repulsive, these artists deploy an uncanny that is visceral and critical in equal measure, raising vital questions about the structure and substance of gendered existence.