An exuberant revision of sexual identity and domesticity, I’m Not Myself At All features new video, uncanny oversized soft-sculpture dolls, wallpaper, crochet spider webs, needlepoint, drawings, and paper mache facsimiles by Toronto-based artists Deirdre Logue and Allyson Mitchell. At turns playful and aggrieved, the artists sort through discarded feminist pasts, raising what curator Sarah E. K. Smith identifies as “potentiality, belonging and representation.” Taken together, the work longs for a queer future, presenting a vision of an idealized and magical—although hard-won—possible world. As theorist Heather Love counsels in the exhibition catalogue, the artists’ new world is “not a remote planet twinkling in the distance. It is not only then and there—it is here and now, where we already live.” Later, referring to Logue and Mitchell’s over-life-size soft sculpture nudes, Love writes, “The female body will not be cleaned up in this queer future—it will arrive trailing its effluvia: bodily fluids, odours, patches of fur, cellulite, granny panties, shag, that sucking sound.”
Through giant paperbacks and green-screen performances, the artists summon key feminist and queer texts into conversation with commonplace rhetoric and everyday life. For example, the exhibition’s central video hunts for possibility within the “lowness” accorded to queers in the status quo; featuring vignettes of artists’ energetic working process and surreal narratives, Her’s is Still a Dank Cave: Crawling Towards a Queer Horizon stitches together a pattern of different eras, speeds and motions to characterize a current moment by both its sticky setbacks and momentous imaginaries.
The artists and curator Sarah Smith will be present at the Season Launch on 8 May, 5:30 to 7:30 pm. Following opening remarks, Deirdre Logue and Allyson Mitchell will activate the installation with a performance titled This Circle is a Mercle.
A publication is available with essays by curator Sarah E. K. Smith and queer theorist Heather Love.
Logue and Mitchell founded Toronto’s Feminist Art Gallery (FAG) in 2010. They have described FAG as a “political pot-luck, free-schooling, backyard screening, axe grinding, directed reading, protest sign making, craft den, incantation, herbal tea and gluten-free muffin top artist talk sensation.” Both artists have gained international recognition for their solo artistic and activist achievements. Joining forces to create work as a duo, this exhibition marks the first major presentation of their collaborative work. It was developed during their residency at the Art Gallery of Ontario 16 February–24 April this year.