Flesh Economics
Launches Sat, Aug 1, 2020
Extended until Sat, Sept 5, 2020

Viewable from the street nightly during the month of August

Wil Aballe Art Projects | WAAP
1129 East Hastings St.
Vancouver, BC V6A 1S43

+1 778 229 3458

Harkening back to an era of the city’s past, and invoking a just vision for the future, Julia Rose Sutherland’s Flesh Economics will be on display in August in the window of the gallery on East Hastings near the corner of Glen Drive. Three words, potent and thoughtfully placed in relation to the other, stand in a text-triptych stack, gorgeously rendered as cursive script in red neon:


In using the material of neon as an art medium, the artist revives what was once a core part of streets like East Hastings the incidental public art of lit-up, neon signs.

Grounded in the language of advertising and in the iconography of the red light district, Sutherland’s Flesh Economics has clear ties to sex work as well as to the practice and labours of art-making in Vancouver. Throughout history, many of Vancouver’s sign-makers were also art school graduates, and the longstanding tradition of artists-as-sign-painters is re-inscribed here through conceptual art and neon. While Sutherland’s work is grounded materially and visually in this language of advertising and prostitution, the work also extends to a present-day, more radical and sex-positive politic of sex work and an intersectional feminist vision for a more just and livable future for women who work as sex workers a world of advocacy and activism that involves decriminalization, and then self-determination and legal rights, as a first step.

Heating up the glass, bending it, writing heavy-duty industrial materials into something like a hand might, delicate curled script text, bold in its proclamation, visual poetry that reclaims the so-called sleaze, seediness, framed within the gallery’s street-facing window-walls.

It’s a confession, a new kind of vision.

– Excerpt by Lauren Fournier, full text below.

Julia Rose Sutherland: Flesh Economics, Vancouver: WAAP, Summer 2020

JULIA ROSE SUTHERLAND is a member of the Metepenagiag Mikmaq Nation. She has an interdisciplinary practice, including photography, sculpture and performance. Sutherland completed her BFA at the Alberta College of Art and Design in 2013 and completed her MFA at the University at Buffalo in 2019. She has shown and participated in residencies internationally in Canada, USA, China and France. She currently resides in Mohkinstsis (Calgary, Alberta).

For further information on the artist, please click the link below.