Mitchell Chalifoux: Young Man’s Fancy
Masculinity is complex and multi-faceted; it is rooted in our tangled histories, it has no correct form, and is experiencing a crisis as we renegotiate it in our current cultural climate.
There are people who defend its roots in tradition, some forced to reflect upon their relationship to it, in light of trauma and abuses of power, and others subverting or rejecting it entirely. Rather than attempt to describe its widespread and varied effects on others, this work discloses my connection with it, through art objects, clothing, and material related to my body and identity.
Using various print and craft techniques, including etching, monoprint, indigo dying, sewing, and embroidery, and pre-existing or discardedmaterials, Young Man’s Fancy takes the form of a layered quilt, as one of many traditional patterns. It’s title refers both to the construction of gender identity and its performances, and the collective nature of (re)creating these genders through presentation and their associated ‘appropriate’ tasks – domestic work for women, and anything but that, for men. Instead of upholding this exclusion, my work suggests the expansion of masculinity through pattern making, to include and revalue femininity and feminist masculinity, turning to gestures of care, empathy, connection, and intimacy in all genders.
Mitchell Chalifoux is an Edmonton-based emerging artist working in print and craft, and holds’a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Alberta. He recently completed the Emerging Artist in Residence program and will be exhibiting his first solo exhibition, Selvage, at the Society of Northern Alberta Print-artists in fall, 2018. His art practice is invested in textiles, gendered labour, and expanding new masculinities, and while not making art, he spends his time baking and longing for summer blooms.