GRETCHEN SANKEY on view at the V. MacDonnell Gallery (1340 Queen West) until March 10. 416-534-3259. Rating: NNNN
pink-frosted birthday cakes,
teddy bears with balloons, and great big candy-coated hearts. Looks like the birth of the artist's first child last November had an influence on the Flotilla of works on paper and wall-mounted sculpture that Gretchen Sankey brings to her first solo show at the V. MacDonnell Gallery.
From past works, including The Bible According To Barbie through her Little Red Riding Hood series, Sankey has built a solid following for her feminist twist on pop mythologies.
But this latest body of work -- most of it completed before her daughter was born -- gets very, very personal.
This is motherhood the way it might be, unsullied by actual contact with baby. The fairy-tale hopes are there, but also the mind-numbing fears.
Notable is the recurring imagery of a flock of sheep bloated to death from being allowed to gorge on unfenced-in apples.
It's a scene from Sankey's youth, when her parents fucked up big time while dabbling with a hobby farm experience.
Pretty enough for Hallmark, gory enough for Grimm, and frank enough for Sankey.