Before blogs, there were zines. Before zines, there were scrapbooks. Sometimes overlooked in the quest to produce high culture, these most direct and intimate means of communication and recording memory are the tools favoured by Sonja Ahlers in the making of her art. A self-taught artist and writer, Ahlers wears her pop culture obsessions on her sleeve, professing her love for such visual icons as Princess Di, Holly Hobbie, and Stevie Nicks.
Focusing on found objects such as stickers, greeting cards, magazine photos collected in collage framework, complete with song lyrics hand-lettered in cursive script and heartbreaking, melancholic water colors, Ahlers explores and exposes the social construction of roles, feminine and otherwise. Beginning with incipient childhood self-awareness and traversing high school status jockeying to adult social climbing, the cultural imagery that supports and informs personal identity is given uneasy new meanings and importance in Ahlers' visual remixes. With The Selves, the schizophrenic nature of an identity foraged from modern cultural sources is laid bare.