Portrait by Melissa Levin. Allyson Mitchell, Ladies Sasquatch, 2008. Photo by Cat O’Neil.
Image courtesy Katherin Mulherin Contemporary Art Projects.
Allyson Mitchell is a maximalist artist working in sculpture, performance, installation, and film. Her practice melds feminism and pop culture to investigate contemporary ideas about sexuality, autobiography, and the body, largely through the use of reclaimed textile and abandoned craft. These articulations have resulted in a coven of lesbian feminist Sasquatch monsters, a room-sized vagina dentata, an army of super genius Holly Hobbies, and a woodland utopic library, complete with a wishing well of forbidden political knowledge.
Her works have been exhibited in galleries and festivals across Canada, the United States, and Europe including the Textile Museum of Canada, the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, The Andy Warhol Museum, Walker Art Center, the British Film Institute, Winnipeg Art Gallery, and the Art Gallery of Ontario.
A survey of Mitchell’s “hand-made” animated film and video work recently toured internationally at festivals and performance spaces, with exhibitions in Dublin, London, and Bologna. Until members retired in 2004, Mitchell also performed actively with the fat performance troupe Pretty Porky and Pissed Off, which she cofounded in 1997. Deep Lez, Mitchell’s ongoing aesthetic/political project advocating a strategic return to the herstories of radical and lesbian feminisms, has been the subject of dialogue within queer and transgender communities in recent years. Mitchell recently attended the International Studio and Curatorial Program (ISCP) in New York, administered by the Canada Council for the Arts.
Mitchell is based in Toronto, where she is an assistant professor in the School of Women’s Studies at York University. She is represented by Katherine Mulherin Contemporary Art Projects.