My Fuzzy Valentine: Allyson Mitchell

Reckitt, Helena. 2006. My Fuzzy Valentine: Allyson Mitchell. C Magazine(89), pp. 14-17. ISSN 1480-5472 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

The article focuses on the work of Toronto artist Allyson Mitchell, which Reckitt describes as oscillating between tones of celebration and loss, humour and revolt. Reckitt focuses on Mitchell’s 2005 exhibition Lady Sasquatch, discussing how Mitchell uses 1970s and 1980s era Playboy magazine imagery to perform “reverse airbrushing” which aims to overturn the typical flow of appropriation. Fostering a feminist spirit of self-acceptance, through her art Mitchell encourages women to treat their bodies with warmth instead of viewing them as objects to be published. Her art produces unlikely kinships between soft core pornography and second-hand textiles and craft objects, based on their shared denigrated cultural status. Embracing kitsch Canadian tropes and markers of identity inspired by the "natural" world, Mitchell’s art suggests that the simultaneous human love and fear of nature might parallel social attitudes towards sexual and racial others. With her concept of Deep Lez, Mitchell posits radical feminism as an endangered species. At the same time she updates lesbian feminism as a contemporary movement of radical inclusivity.

The article contextualises Lady Sasquatch with other examples of Mitchell’s work. It discusses her autobiographically-inspired experimental and animated films, her film collaborations with Christina Zeidler, and her fat activist performance interventions with Pretty Porky and Pissed off. It relates her art to that of earlier female and feminist artists, including Joyce Wieland's experimental films and craft-based objects, Joyce Kozloff’s Pornament is Crime watercolours, Ghada Amer’s embroidered canvases, and the recruitment tactics of Dyke Action Machine and The Lesbian Avengers.

Item Type:



Allyson Mitchell; lesbian feminist art; fat activism; haptic art

Departments, Centres and Research Units:



1 March 2006Published

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Date Deposited:

26 Sep 2017 15:09

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 16:35


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