Opening Friday June 6th 2015 7-9pm
June 6-20

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With or Without Fashion
A group exhibition featuring:

Sam Dorgan
Joe Paushel
Jenny Ustick
William Knipscher
Loraine Wible

Power and identity are inseparably synced with the concept of fashion. Demeanor and attitude are determined and expressed via what we wear either metaphorically or materially. Fashion associates itself with vanity and gender, existing under the umbrella of engagement with (and consciousness of) style—the act of molding and manipulating the plastic self. For With or Without Fashion, five fine artists use a variety of media to explore artistic influence, appropriation, and the economies associated with fashion and art.

William Knipscher’s photographs of individuals toy with the idea of originality; just as “in the fashion of” implies an imperfect replica, the photographic image can never replicate what it seeks to duplicate. The colorful mixed-media ceramic work and installations of Sam Dorgan and Joe Paushel exploit gendered symbols by violating and confusing semiotic identities through formal play, while Loraine Wible’s installations and video projections address decoration and adornment in a media-saturated culture of excess. Finally, Jenny Ustick’s large charcoal drawings deal with fashion directly: In 2014, the 20th anniversary of grunge icon Kurt Cobain’s death, Ustick began conjuring source material from a 1992 issue of Vogue Magazine spread Grunge & Glory featuring Marc Jacobs’ line of creations for Perry Ellis inspired by thrift store finds and the Seattle music scene. Ustick’s works obliterate the models, shifting the subject from the wearer to the worn.

Artists and fashion designers are adept at harnessing the intoxicating power of images to influence personal and cultural aesthetic preferences. Conversely, visual artists and musicians, through their natural work and lifestyle choices are the harbingers of radical social changes (even Plato warned of the poets). This exhibition references grunge aesthetics with a nod to the fanciness of the Baroque. In the late 17th and late 20th centuries, Baroque painting and Grunge rock embraced an interest in individualism, in dramatic displays, and a rising middle class. Fashion is but a signifier of personal values and status, even as those paradigms shift continually. Today, rampant appropriation and a healthy postmodern lust for nostalgia has further blurred the once-trusty distinction between elite, middle-brow, and low-brow. In this spirit Boom Gallery proudly presents, With or Without Fashion.

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