PHOTO ESSAY

Culture Clash

Annie Pootoogook captures Canada’s north-south divide

By David Balzer
June 27, 2006
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Woman at her Mirror, Playboy Pose. Courtesy Power Plant/Fehely Fine Arts.

Woman at her Mirror, Playboy Pose

Pootoogook’s reading of female sexuality is playful and, in a sense, wonderfully savvy, no doubt an outgrowth of her increased exposure, via the internet and television, to erotica and pornography. Her Woman at her Mirror, Playboy Pose will inevitably elicit a ponderous giggle or two among southern audiences: the red pumps, coupled with the sparsely furnished room and the bunny on the wall (which, frankly, looks more like a cross between a lamb and a cow), seem to pit the realities of sex against the absurd, elaborate fantasies we build around it.

Campbell doubts the image is proof of Pootoogook’s postfeminism, though she admits that its humour is “intentional,” and that it’s the result of a “romanticism coupled with observation.” Whatever the precise motivation, the drawing makes a strong case for Pootoogook’s powers of irony: in fact, her remote purview likely aided her in honing such a smart, detached sensibility.

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