Muscle Panic Hazel Meyer has turned the Cow Palace—the site of Warkworth’s Agricultural Fair—into an after-hours sports club for Muscle Panic, a rogue girl’s basketball team in need of a space in which to train, scheme, and otherwise spend time together, especially at night. Mismatched banners and pennants hang by rafters nodding to the greater spectacle of gymnasium sports over a handcrafted, 14-foot basketball hoop, in a project that explores how we come together, how we sweat together, and how we build the tender, emotional spaces of sport.
Artist Statement: My work is a continuous motion. It loops around motifs, narratives, habits, and forms, exploring seemingly disparate yet overlapping preoccupations with intestines and athletics, anxiety and feminism, using the forms of wall drawings, felt banners, and stitched objects. These themes reflect not only a body of work, but also a way of working. I use strategies of humour and the absurd, along with a distinctly naïve, campy, and colourful aesthetic, to prompt questions of value and appropriateness. From the monumental to the minuscule, my projects range from large, immersive installations, to small woven tags meant for an audience of one.
The concept of resistance—political, social, and physiological—has long been of interest to me. Always returning to what I know (or think I know), I understand resistance through the body as sweaty, volatile, diseased, complicated, and resilient—full of its own idiosyncrasies of pleasure, pain, and everything that lies between.
Recent projects No Theory No Cry and Intestinal Anarchy! worked to develop a mythology of the self—of myself. Though labels such as “artist,” “jock,” “queer,” and “having an illness,” offer a normative shorthand, queer strategies of resisting assimilation by embracing the fragmentary help me to develop a more complex and idiosyncratic language for self-representation.
From the monumental to the modest Hazel Meyer’s projects range from large installations, to small woven tags meant for an audience of one. She explores seemingly disparate yet overlapping preoccupations —intestines and athletics, feminism and the absurd, anxiety and textiles— using scale, language, play, repetition, gentle confrontation and ecstatic immersion. She has collaborated with teens, badminton players, composers, her mother, and artists for projects that are devoted to a forever shifting ratio of endurance, transgression, and laughs, as ways of being in one’s body and the world. Meyer holds an MFA from OCAD University, Toronto, a BFA from Concordia University, Montréal and coaches junior girls basketball at Queen Victoria Public School in Toronto. She lives and works in Toronto, Ontario.
Mercer Union is an artist-run centre dedicated to contemporary art located on Bloor West near Lansdowne Avenue in downtown Toronto. We provide a forum for the production and exhibition of Canadian and international contemporary art and related cultural practices. We pursue our primary concerns through critical activities that include exhibitions, lectures, screenings, performances, publications, events and special projects.
Established in 1979, Mercer Union began as an artist-run centre through the collective efforts of artists who believed in alternative art production and presentation. Throughout our thirty year history, we have maintained ambitious programming, exhibiting national and international artists and presenting cultural professionals both in formative and established stages of their careers.