“The power of fashion lies in its ability to transform identity and culture.”
An Opening Reception Friday September 21, 2018 from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm
GraySpace Gallery presents Blurred Boundaries: Fashion as an Art, created by Rhonda P. Hill, founder of EDGE. The exhibition spotlights the selected work of fashion designers Tingyue Jiang, Alena Kalana, Susan Tancer and Hera Zhou who blur the distinction between art and fashion.
Global fashion is a multi-trillion dollar industry, where conflicting ideas of aesthetics, ethics, appropriateness, and desirability are debated within each society. This dynamic is played out through fashion events; high profile, celebrity, political and religious influences; utilitarian needs; and propelled by the global spread of capitalism.
The worlds of art and fashion design are overlapping, signifying blurred boundaries. There’s a paradigm shift in the way we understand the cultural contribution of fashion. Fashion exhibitions at art museums and galleries are a global phenomenon, with record breaking attendance. The exhibitions of Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty; Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology; and China: Through the Looking Glass are in the top 10 of all exhibitions visited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art [Met], New York, with over 2.2 million visitors. The Met is just one example, across the globe, where sophisticated audiences seek this captivating experience.
Blurred Boundaries: Fashion as an Art showcases fashion as an art. Thus this show makes a strong claim that fashion is an artistic expression and is as valid as sculpture and painting. Fashion is an artifact of our culture and can be seen through the lens of social anthropology. It can identify a cultural trend and articulate it in a certain way, or it can be cross-culturally inspired, while addressing societal rhythms. It can define the spirit or mood of an era.
Designers, Jiang, Kalana, Tancer, and Zhou manifest artistry, imagination, and an out-of-the-box mindset in their body of work. They give us bold designs that are relevant, innovative, with the rigor of nonconformity. These designers call themselves artists and do not see their designs as part of the mass produced off-the-rack garment industry. Jiang, Kalana, Tancer, and Zhou are disruptors working against the industry trend of 'more is more'. They give fashion a cultural face, purpose, and environmental consciousness. With their dedication to an artistic practice – as sculptor in cloth – they are not restricted with commercial limitations. The art of the hand is distinctly human and cannot be replaced or matched by a machine. As we view their collections, we can experience "the hand" through the depth, complexity, and emotion in the construction, materials, shape, and ornamentation.
Traditionally there’s been a separation of fine and applied art. Art fundamentally creates culture. In an age of identity politics and multiculturalism, fashion's power lies in its identity to transform identity and culture.
Fashion, like any other art, serves as a platform to express, evoke emotion, and make a statement. Artists are motivated to create an object or image that is timeless – work that transcends time. Fashion designers have this same desire, but are up against creating seasonal work, to fuel the speed and disposability of today’s fashion environment. Fashion has never been more accessible to the masses than today, which, arguably, can hinder the artistic value of fashion. To counter this, a new generation of fashion designers emphasize new principles of design, such as line, shape, form, space, texture, and color to transcend fashion as an art.
Rhonda P. Hill , founder of EDGE, is an accomplished business leader in the Fashion and Entertainment industries and currently contributes to the fashion industry as fashion curator, business adviser, conscious fashion advocate, writer, editor, and e-magazine publisher.
Held in conjunction with Erik ReeL: Zero Point at GraySpace Gallery. Note that Erik and Rhonda are married to each other.
In the Funk Zone
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Santa Barbara, California