The clothing and revolution created by feminist interventions let females know that our flesh was worthy of love and adoration in its natural state; nothing had to be added unless a woman chose further adornment.
bell hooks, Feminism Is for Everybody
Pen + Brush is pleased to present On Adornment, a group exhibition curated by Jenn Hampton. It features emerging and mid-career artists who are unpacking the concept of adornment, particularly in the context of female imaging and agency, and redefining it in contemporary ways.
The artists featured in this exhibition dissect and reframe traditional notions of the term “adornment,” which is typically defined as “something added to make a person or thing more attractive.” Their work reveals nuanced interpretations that reflect on liberation juxtaposed to, or as part of, one’s adornment of oneself.
Rose Deler captures X-rays like monoprints of various historically feminine undergarments. The inner workings of corsets, brassieres, and garters, which are typically decoratively concealed, are laid bare as a matrix of metal boning and underwire. Joanne Leah’s photographic work highlights feminine forms in bold compositions, many zoomed in, revealing decidedly ample flesh covered in gold leaf, glitter, and melting paint. The forms are free from any clothing and the skin directly embellished.
Annina Roescheisen’s series “La Pietá” is comprised of photographs and slow-motion silent video performances wrought with religious iconography, most prominently that of Christian imagery of 14th and 15th centuries. Roescheisen is positioned in “La Pietá” as the Virgin Mary, in a direct reference to the rich art history surrounding the Pieta, yet she reimagines this image by adorning herself with pop culture objects and holds in her lap a teddy bear in the place of Jesus.
Aleya Lehmann’s Hey Sister presents a series of out-of-focus photographs of femme individuals swathed in various hues of satin and silk. Their swaying and confident poses are captured in a blur that seems to celebrate the freedom of self-presentation.
Image Credits: (Homepage: Katherine J Cooksey, Miss Art World) (Top of Exhibition Page: Michela Martello, F.R.E.E. Psycomagic) (Below: Annina Roescheisen, La Pietá)