Andrea Ling, The Girl in the Wood Frock, 2006. 1/16" Black cherry veneer, stainless steel hardware, copper cable, acrylic plastic. Image courtesy of Artist.

Fashion No-no

Joanna Berzowska, Linda Imai, Andrea Ling, Annie Thompson, Dorkenwald-Spitzer, Hilly Yeung

Curated by Curated by Paola Poletto

November 18 – November 18, 2019FREE

Fashion No-no is not necessarily about clothing, but innovative and experimental objects using art, craft/design, technology and their relationship to the body within the process. Curator Paolo Poletto is a mixed media artist and works in cultural programming. She has been involved in Canadian and International design and new media projects and exhibitions since 1993. Poletto will present the lecture Fashion No-no: prototyping and processing on Saturday, January 24 as part of the Innovators + Ideas (I2) Contemporary Craft lecture series.

Fashion No-no offers six diverse views about identity and performance and the complex relationships between material, display and author. In all these works, the act of presentation moves away from the body as the frame or skeletal structure, toward the material characteristic of the crafted object: the environment, the photograph, the purse, the shoe, the dress.

None of the works selected for Fashion No-no are about fashion. Yet, this is how the exhibition with its eclectic selection of artists and craftspersons has come about. It mashes art and craft in an attempt to put into dialogue work by and about women.

With Pinfurniture, Dorkenwald — Spitzer erase the body/habitat scale by flattening and miniaturizing interior designs into tent like structures to carry and affix in a variety of configurations.

Linda Imai crafts wildly creative purses with non-traditional and recycled materials. They blend traditional techniques with untraditional materials to form sculpted vessels that conflict with their utilitarian context.

Hilly Yeung replicates designer shoes into paper sculpture, heightening the delicate torture of the woman’s high-heeled shoe, and referencing the common ritual of replicating material possessions as offerings to burn and take into the afterlife.

Freed from the dressmaker’s mannequin, Annie Thompson‘s fabric manipulations are like mysterious cocoons of life-sized dolls: they are also vulnerable, tortured, fallen ghosts.

Joanna Berzowska‘s impressive research explores the parasitic relationship of wearable technologies to the body. In this work, the warm glow of the leeches, for example, is opposed to the utilitarian-like uniform of the clothing and the fabric. It favors a disparate parasitic dynamic and aesthetic between the dress and augmented technologies.

Andrea Ling combines architectural visualization with furniture design techniques, and a folktale with a photographic narrative, to fabricate a wooden dress that appears impossible to get in to. It is an unlikely story of a wooden dress proven, in a sense, to be possible.

The works are so different from one another because each of the participants also has a different practice, bringing their perspective to the mix, offering opportunity for discussion, and potentially a clashing of ideas about what art and craft are. They invite us to reexamine the female body within a fashion context.

— Paola Poletto