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Dates: March 3-April 15, 2018
Location: Kaaterskill Fine Arts Gallery, Hunter Village Square, Main Street, Hunter
Gallery Hours: Friday, Saturday & Monday, 11 am-5:30 pm; Sunday 11 am-4:00 PM
More Information: 518 263 2060
On March 3, Kaaterskill Fine Arts Gallery opened Wear Where, a new exhibit featuring works by Ann Clarke, Chrissie Cordrey, Jane Waggoner Deschner, Kate Hamilton (appearing courtesy of Carrie Haddad Gallery, Hudson), Jesse Moore, and Derek Smith.
“Attire” is an interesting word. Even the sound of it—attire—has a lifting-up quality, as if we were dressing up for a dance rather than rummaging through our closet for a favorite everyday shirt.
Clothing ourselves is not just about weather protection. What we wear and how and where we wear it can so distinctly inform our identity and shape our self image while announcing to the world around us how we should be thought of or seen. There’s a lot of intention here — spending lots of money on brand names or shopping exclusively at thrift stores or garage sales says a lot about how we see and experience ourselves in the consumer-based society in which we live.
Most people, if they can afford it, don’t strive to look anonymous. To various degrees, we like to see and be seen. Many of us will choose style over practicality and comfort over “a good fit.” Also, it is not uncommon to put on a favorite article of clothing and instantly feel better. But how did and why has this happened?
It’s easy to look back a few centuries and trace the beginnings of how we signified our place in society through our appearance. People with money and power learned, not just through cleanliness but through design, how to flaunt their class, one’s “betterness” over others. We placed high value on social status, royalty or governing and our attire gave us an easy way to figure out who our tribe was and wasn’t, i.e. where we belonged.
And sentimentality plays an important role in emotionally embracing an understanding where we came from. Many people save clothes from a deceased parent or partner. These heirlooms help to place us in our family lineage, a timeline for where we came from, defining aspects of those who came before us and who now, in some unexplainable manner, are living through us.
Can we create positive identities without exploitation? Can our attire simply be the book cover to the chapters of our lives, richly lived and thoroughly examined inside?
How does language influence our perception of what we wear and how a product is produced (consider a shoemaker’s foot form being called a “last”)?
Is fashion a mirror to our society at large? What can we learn about ourselves based on what we wear and how we present ourselves? Does fashion have to be gender defining? Why or why not?
Wear Where offers some insights as to how today’s artists have addressed concerns like these. One artist may want above all to master a craft, for another it might be exploring the absurdity of desire and yet for another it becomes an opportunity to challenge existing morés and buck current fashion trends. One common thread throughout most of the works presented is to declare the importance and beauty of individual distinction. I interpret this as an individual’s wish to say, “I am here and I matter.”
Wear Where will be on display at Kaaterskill Fine Arts, Hunter Village Square, Main Street, Hunter from March 3 through April 15, 2018.
Also on display at Kaaterskill Fine Arts from March 3 through April 15 are Slow Build: Typewriter Drawings by Rachel Mulder and Things Just Aren’t What They Seem to Be: Paintings by Leslie Berlinsky.