Torontoist reviews THE SELVES

“Sonja Ahlers, A Look at Our Selves” / Torontoist / Torontoist / July 13, 2010

Veteran underground artist Sonja Ahlers has been profiled many times—you can read excellent pieces about her in Taddle Creek and Broken Pencil. You can also join the thousands who have purchased the craft bunnies that she creates from reclaimed angora or her other collage artworks.

Her early books, Temper Temper (1998) and Fatal Distraction (2004), consist of inventive collages constructed from found-and-drawn, cut-and-paste images that form into slowly emerging narratives. This year she is releasing a full colour work, The Selves, a coming-of-age narrative using the same technique blended with original drawings and writings. The book, published by Drawn & Quarterly, reads like a diary from our collective subconscious—images of Princess Diana, Strawberry Shortcake, a young Angelina Jolie, and found art from story books tell a dark tale about growing up as a girl in the shadow of countless mass-media representations of femininity. The book’s nontraditional low-fi look will challenge some readers, but the work builds with a kind of slow burn from which emerges a richly rewarding commentary delivered with unusually dark immediacy.

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