Allyson Mitchell creates sculpture, installation, performance and film. In the mid-1990s in Toronto, Mitchell was heavily influenced by Riot Grrrl zines and bands, and co-founded the fat activist performance troupe Pretty Porky and Pissed Off. In her work, Mitchell approaches pop culture and her own autobiography through a queer and feminist lens. The altered t-shirt diptych Women’s Studies Professors Have Class Privilege / I’m With Problematic is part of her ongoing series Creep Lez, an effort to use queer theory as a sculptural material. The artist, who teaches Women’s Studies at York University, asks, “How do we both resist and reconcile our participation in oppressive systems?” Mitchell’s Ladies Sasquatch sculptures are also guided by a revolutionary objective. The works embrace what she terms a “feral sexuality” outside prescriptive, heteronormative notions of beauty and lust and toward a “queer utopian dream world.” The Feminist Art Gallery (FAG), documented in a new video created for Alien She, is steered by the same impulse. Housed in the owners’ converted garage, FAG does not rely on government or corporate funding to sustain itself. This financial independence allows its co-founders the freedom to showcase raucous, experimental work. Recommended Reading is a celebration, memorial and documentation of key writings, feminist presses, bookstores and libraries instrumental to Mitchell’s life and work, named after the Lesbian Herstory Archives in Brooklyn. Mitchell lives in Toronto.
Sat March 6th