“What drives modern man so strongly to style is the unburdening and concealment of the personal, which is the essence of style. Subjectivism and individuality have intensified to breaking-point and in the stylized designs, from those of behavior to those of home furnishing there is a mitigation and toning down of this acute personality to a generality and its law.” (Simmel on Culture)
My work engages stages of the adaptation of ‘fashions.’ How taste, even ‘bad taste’ can be celebrated in aristocratic society, but once mimicked by a different social sphere it can become kitsch and regarded as ‘aesthetic slumming.’ The concept of fashion and its association with modernity is interplay between individual imitation and differentiation.
Kitsch excites the desire for ownership, and suggests ‘hominess,’ or the kind of clutter in which objects are assembled in an attempt to signify wealth and taste. Chintz, beads, lace can function as unnecessary embellishment that are piled on in an attempt to dress up an object, creating a veil for it humble beginnings, while plastic attempts to preserve it.
Fashion, adornment, and ornament all have vicious life cycles- newness is simultaneously associated with demise and death. Though fashion and adornment are closely related to the body, ornament can expand to architecture and environment. I begin to blur the boundaries of body and object, different social classes, the beautiful and the repugnant, the outside and the inside. These decorative acts function as an aesthetic veil, that draws attention to itself but is ultimately removed when the viewer discovers what attracts them to the work are deficiencies.
CROWNS & VEILS 2011-2013
I construct decorative, non-functional glass headdresses to initiate a new conversation about narcissistic female adornment. Throughout history the cultural construction of feminine identity has contributed to a persistent desire by women to transcend what nature has given them physically. I believe these gestures of transformation are made selfishly and with pleasure, in hopes to achieve a fantasy. The glass headdresses function as a separation between viewer and ‘wearer.’ This distance enables the ‘wearer’ to be transformed into the fantastical creature; however, this distance is only a counterfeit perfection.
I am interested in women’s attempts to fit popular cultural representation and how often this results in a suspension of their critical self-awareness. How women’s efforts to fulfill these representations can lead to feelings of guilt and the simultaneous assertion of individual power and the creation of a ‘feminine mystique.’ Finally I am interested in the adornments of the celebration of the ‘perfect’ woman. These celebrations can include beauty queens, exotic dancers, and ironically in it’s most extreme manifestation: the bride.