Header image: Jordyn Stewart, Honouring the Heroine of the Falls (video still), 2022, 10 minutes, HD video. Image courtesy the artist.
To play a daredevil’s advocate
January 13 – April 13, 2024
Opening Reception: January 20, 2:00 – 4:00pm
To play a daredevil’s advocate, pays tribute to Annie Edson Taylor, the first person and woman to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel and survive. In the early 1900’s, during the height of daredevil activity surrounding Niagara Falls, one woman surprised everyone. Confined in only a whisky barrel, padded with a few pillows, Annie Edson Taylor became the first person to successfully plunge over the brink of the Horseshoe Falls and survive.
But what was her overall intention? In search of financial stability, Annie resorted to the most challenging entrepreneurial endeavor; challenging nature. In the shadow of her male counterparts – even with the Falls on her side – success was destined to be unattainable.
To play a daredevil’s advocate pays tribute to Annie and her performance, while asking the viewer to consider their individual relationships with this natural wonder. At what point has the Falls been positioned as a trophy or celebrity you need to photograph yourself next to? Or beat in a match? Where does this inherent desire to challenge the Falls come from? At some point in time this perspective stuck – do we have the need to feel superior to the Falls or recognize our inability to.
Primarily video-based, Jordyn’s exhibition highlights Annie’s feat while also questioning the daredevil’s desire to challenge the Falls through stunts. The exhibition includes paintings and prints from the collections of Grimsby Public Art Gallery, Niagara Falls Art Gallery and Riverbrink Art Museum. Sharing unique representations of the falls evoking Annie’s tumultuous feat, these artworks also highlight the feminist undercurrents of the exhibition including Stewart’s own practice and advocacy for/as a female artist, juxtaposed to the institutional narrative of museological practices historically focussed on collecting male artists.
Jordyn Stewart (she/her) is an artist, educator and arts administrator. She received her MFA from the University of Waterloo and her BA from the University of Toronto, joint program with Sheridan College in Art & Art History. Her work has been programmed in spaces such as Art Museum, Hamilton Artists Inc., Trinity Square Video, Idea Exchange, and Gallery Stratford. In 2022, her work screened at the Small File Media Festival in Burnaby, BC and OORtreders Festival in Pelt, BE. Jordyn is currently teaching in the Department of Visual Studies at The University of Toronto Mississauga.
She is a settler artist currently residing on the traditional territories of the Hatiwendaronk, Haudenosaunee, and Anishinaabe, including the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation and the Six Nations of the Grand River (otherwise known as Niagara, Ontario).
Curated by Caitlin Sutherland
Grimsby Public Art Gallery
18 Carnegie Lane
Grimsby, ON L3M 1Y1
Exhibition is open during Grimsby Public Art Gallery's Hours:
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday: 10:00am – 5:00pm
Thursday: 10:00am – 9:00pm
Saturday: 12:00pm – 5:00pm
Grimsby Public Art Gallery is fully accessible.