Fountain House Gallery, located at 702 Ninth Avenue and representing artists living with mental illness, announces the upcoming group show The Art of Fashion, curated by Kathy Battista, which opens with a Reception on June 8, 2017, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., and will remain on view through August 9, 2017.
"Art and fashion have a symbiotic relationship,” said Battista, curator, writer, and Program Director, MA Contemporary Art, Sotheby’s Institute of Art New York. “I love that the artists have considered fashion in the broadest sense, from personal style and identity politics to street art and celebrity culture. Abstract patterns that derive from textiles, as well as works derived from textiles themselves, play an important role in the show. The work of mainstream artists sits effortlessly with that of the Fountain House Gallery artists, and creates a dynamic and fun dialogue across generations and styles."
Traditional motifs of high fashion play a significant role in the exhibition. Marina Marchand’s, Barry Senft’s, and George Penon Cassallo’s paintings are influenced by fashion trends, as seen in glossy magazine spreads or advertisements. Eva O’Leary’s and Maura Terese’s photographs recall the crisp lines of fashion photography, so often focused on the female model. Jasmine Soto’s drawings recall fashion line spread sheets while Joyce Siegel’s take these into the realm of semaphores that may be read as a cryptic language of dress shapes. Christopher Polgar’s drawings may be compared to quickly drawn fashion illustrations and invoke the nostalgia of viewing fashion shows pre-camera phones.
Street style is represented by Gavin Dubblex Alleyne, and Osvaldo Cruz, whose MODA painting recalls the original style of subway graffiti. Elizabeth Bick’s photographs of Bushwick women and Kathy Pieper’s paintings of men can be read as homage to New York’s dynamic street style. Celebrity culture is another preoccupation of artists in the show: Gary Peabody includes a Goth version of Adele; Martin Cohen pictures Cindy Crawford on a groceries run; Glenn Goldstein presents a meticulous drawing of Bianca Jagger; and A. Lutz shows a painting with collaged objects of Bianca Del Rio.
Fashion is not confined to humans; pet style is another lighthearted element in the show. Mercedes Kelly’s Mother Cat in Living Room continues her abiding motif of animal paintings, and features an anthropomorphic cat depicted in a bright palette of repeated patterns. Bridget Pierpont’s RUPAC depicts her chihuahua Rue in the guise of departed rapper Tupac, with collaged bandanna and crucifix. And Susan Spangenberg’s painting reminds us with its graphic text that dogs are not just fashion accessories.
Several of the artists took the theme of fashion into a more abstract notion, producing works across media. Bryan Michael Greene and L.B. Berman created paintings whose abstract surfaces recall the warp and weft of fabric. Deborah Standard, Michelle Hammer, and Grace Hale produced hand printed fabrics that hang in the gallery. Alyson Vega, known for her work with textiles, has created her most ambitious work to date, If I Wore It, I Wore it With Jeans, a wall-sized work that tells her history through a collage of fabrics. Ella Veres has produced an installation with a group of fabric necklaces as well as shoes that serve as flowerpots. Katie Holten’s pink pussy hat and George Williams’ painting of a woman in hijab serve as reminders of recent political upheaval, reminding us that fashion is inextricably linked to gender.
In addition to traditional media, videos by Lisa Kirk and Cheryl Donegan are included. Kirk’s Revolution is a perfume ad aimed at revolutionaries for a scent that the artist devised with a professional perfumer. Donegan’s fashion shows as performance art are seen on video alongside two of the real creations on mannequins. Donegan has also styled the curator and Fountain House Gallery staff in her original work, produced by Print All Over Me, for the opening reception.
The Art of Fashion showcases more than 70 works, in mediums including drawing, painting, sculpture, textile and video. This program is funded, in part, by generous support from the Renate, Hans and Maria Hofmann Trust and the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation.