Absolutely Fabulous – Masculine Identity Outed – Christine Redfern in the Montreal Mirror, August 3, 2006

The photographs in Absolutely Fabulous were shot during the heyday of the early 90’s hard-line critiquing of the straight white male. Local artist Paul Litherland decided that instead of accepting the role of feeling bad and guilty, he’d shake up the proscribed ideas of what masculine identity is. The results were never shown, Litherland says, mostly because I was embarrassed.

Now, to coincide with Montreal’s Outgames, the images are finally coming out today, Aug. 3, at Galerie Thérèse Dion (372 Ste-Catherine W., #527). The images show Litherland trying on a variety of identities ranging from dildo-wearer to schoolboy to being dead. The death piece was the image used to promote last winter’s group exhibition Faking Death: Canadian Art Photography at the Jack Shainman Gallery in NYC. That exhibition and the accompanying coverage in Artforum, ARTNews and The New Yorker resulted in Litherland being encouraged to drag the whole series out of his closet. How does he feel about these images 13 years later? ‘Why not figure out what kind of points of view men can assume?’ he asks. Opening from 3-6 p.m., exhibition runs until Sept. 2, 398-9204. Christine Redfern