Allyson Mitchell at Paul Petro Contemporary Art (980 Queen West), to October 8. 416-979-7874. Rating: NNNNN Rating: NNNNN
Crafty Allyson Mitchell finds in Lady Sasquatch the perfect cultural icon to represent her magnificent Deep Lez movement. More than a simple critique of the patriarchal leash on female beauty, her installation presents the sasquatch as the quintessential alluring large, hairy lady. You might feel a sense of euphoria when you realize that, as Mitchell puts it, "Oh my god, I want to fuck a sasquatch." At the Paul Petro gallery, she's arranged a small couch, plastic plants and a campfire tableau. Essential oils scent the air while pseudo-tribal instrumental music with sasquatch moans plays. Using camp and craft, she stunningly appropriates materials associated with domesticated femininity to undermine the very stereotypes they usually reflect and enforce.
Two life-size Lady Sasquatch sculptures covered in fun fur tower over you. Silverback (a dyke culture reference to the older and wiser woman), sporting silver and black fur and an extraordinary mullet, poses in the classic sasquatch stride. Tawny, with her hands in the air and two rows of hairy teats, knows she's smoking hot.
Seven large wall pieces incorporate more fun fur, found shag and other kitsch fabrics to reinterpret imagery found in 1970s Playboys. Shebacca reclines against a hot purple background, touching herself through tufts of thick red fur, mouth open and eyes closed beneath her heavy mono-brow. On a rose print chenille cover, a petite blond goes down on a golden brown sasquatch with huge hair and tufted grey eyebrows in It Ain't Going To Lick Itself. The creature holds her lover's ass as pleasure plays across her muzzle.
For a mere $30, you can buy a limited-edition airbrushed T-shirt bearing the catchy phrase "Deep Lez" or "Lady Sasquatch." Every shirt is a unique and colourful amalgam of hearts, flags, rainbows and bubbles, backing the cheerful, sexy message. And, yes, they come in all sizes.