G.B. Jones and Paul P. at COOPER COLE

Artist: G.B. Jones and Paul P.

Exhibition title: Temple of Friendship

Venue: COOPER COLE, Toronto, Canada

Date: August 26 – October 3, 2020

Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and COOPER COLE, Toronto

Cooper Cole is pleased to present Temple of Friendship, an exhibition of collaborative work by G.B. Jones and Paul P.

In their independent practices, both Jones and P. are well recognized as drafts-people who appropriate and reposition figurative images from queer history. Devoted to the act of archiving, as both a tool and a creative conceit, they have, over the past 18 years, assembled an oeuvre of collaborative cut-and-paste collages from their copious image banks. The exhibition is titled after Natalie Barney’s so-named Neoclassical folly situated in her Paris courtyard, in which she hosted a salon for the queer demimonde in the years before the First World War.

Jones and P. are interested in ungovernable sexualities and genders, and in the history of aesthetics forged by those who were compelled to communicate and represent themselves through innuendo and codes. While their collages dwell on the queer lineage of coded language in aesthetics and attitudes, they also posit the violent and retaliatory potential of these protagonists, utilizing images and references relating to riots in Toronto precipitated by police violence: in particular, those around the bathhouse raids in 1980, and during the G20 summit in 2010. Jones and P.’s mesh of uneasy images illustrate the immemorial (and still applicable) arc of their protagonists, whether anonymous and symbolic, infamous or famous. Out of the hostile climate of youth, their inchoate anger and longing drives them underground to places where pathos and wonder mix, after which they emerge self-aware and defiant; shocking, dazzling, confusing. Symbols of invention within a world of manipulation.

Temple of Friendship follows Born Yesterday, Jones and P.’s solo exhibition at Participant Inc., New York, in 2017.

G.B. Jones (b. 1965 Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada) has acquired international acclaim for her super-8 films, zines, and proto-Riot Grrrl band Fifth Column. Active since the early 1980s, her works are milestones in independent film, publishing, and art rock, respectively, and primary sources for what later became known as Queercore. Concurrently, Jones has always been a dedicated visual artist best known for all-female reprises of Tom of Finland’s drawings. By a simple twist, hers are images of liberation freed of the fascist tendencies at work in gay male culture. Her solo exhibitions include Cooper Cole, Toronto, 2018; Tom Of Finland, G.B. Jones, Daniel Buchholz, Cologne, 1993; Feature, New York, 1991. Her work has been included in numerous group exhibitions including: Art After Stonewall, Grey Art Gallery and Leslie-Lohman Museum, New York, 2019; Coming to Power: 25 Years of Sexually X-Plicit Art by Women, Maccarone, New York, 2016; This Will Have Been: Art, Love and Politics in the 1990s, Museum of Contemporary Art, 2012; Coming To Power: 25 Years Of Sexually X-plicit Art By Women, David Zwirner, New York, curated by Ellen Kantor, 1993. Jones lives and works in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Paul P. (b. 1977, Canada), who first came to attention in the early 2000s, has developed a wide-ranging practice centered on a series of drawings and paintings of young men appropriated from pre-AIDS gay erotica. His solo exhibitions include Morena di Luna/Maureen Paley, Hove, UK (2020); Queer Thoughts, New York, USA (2019); Lulu, Mexico City, Mexico (2019); Scrap Metal, Toronto, Canada (2015); and The Power Plant, Toronto, Canada (2007). His group exhibitions include Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2014); Les paris sont ouverts, Freud Museum, London (2011); and Compass in Hand, Museum of Modern Art, New York (2009). P.’s work is in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada, the Museum of Modern Art New York, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Hammer Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and the Whitney Museum, among others.

Paul P. wishes to acknowledge the generous support of the Ontario Arts Council.