******This post is of a review I made a couple months ago. I had since forgotten to re-post. It was posted when it was relevant but was taken down due to it becoming published in my University’s school newspaper The Meliorist. But I’m currently working on an analysis on a Polish Film. It will be posted in a day or two; depending on how involved I get in my drawing class! U of L Art Gallery exhibition of Lady Sasquatch*****
Walk into the University Art Gallery and you’ll find yourself intruding on what seems to be a ritualistic dance by six female Sasquatches around a campfire. But as you make your way into the gallery, the intrusion disappears as the exhibit invites you to walk into the circle, to include yourself into the barbaric dance. We do not precisely know what they, the Sasquatches, are doing but this seems to be part of the intrigue. The observer is invited to take a deeper and closer look at these six monstrous figures and to ask why have the Ladies Sasquatch arrived?
Taking a look at the Ladies Sasquatch we can identify different patterns that emerge within the material bringing the separate creatures together. Allyson Mitchell (the artist) is indeed intrigued by disposed, second-hand material since she re-works these materials into compelling commentaries on power and privilege thus breathing new meaning into the objects[i]. Here, she uses domestic discarded material such as fun fur, shag carpet, old mops, Afghans and other saved items to create these mythological monstrosities. The salvaged materials have a common denominator: they are all materials used in the domestic sphere. These materials bring this orbiting exhibit into the realm-dialogue of third-wave feminism or as some may call it: post-modern feminism. By using material that has been collected and used by women as far back as domesticity has been in place and following the footsteps of women artist of the 70s, such as Judy Chicago’s Dinner Party (1979) or Miriam Shapiro’s Flying Carpet (1972), Mitchell includes the thoughts of women’s pasts. This gesture encapsulates third-wave feminism in all its glory. To include the voices of the past so that they could be re-worked and shaped into six ten-feet-tall creatures (and yes these voices are not speaking of light tea-time but of monstrous things). The observer is invited to engage with the past, piece it all together and look upon a new form that towers a few feet over him/her.
It is my speculation that the Ladies Sasquatch have come out to expose themselves, no longer wanting to be part of a mysterious mythology but wanting to become real and intricate themselves into our lives. They have come out to shock, play and scare us. To invite us to be part of them and them us. They may even disrupt the silence.
[i] Sabine Hikel “Allyson Mitchell: Leveraging Ambivalence” Canadian DimensionI (2007): 2