Textiles Map Fashion’s Cultural Histories – The Free Weekly
While preparing for the last temporary exhibition at the multidisciplinary art space Momentary in Bentonville, there was a reluctance to even use the word “fashion” in the title – although it would become “In Some Form or Fashion” . The organizers did not want to deceive the public into believing it was a fashion exhibition in the traditional sense, reveals Kaitlin Garcia-Maestas, associate curator.
“On the contrary, these artists, through their works which are in a way housed in the art world, reflect on and criticize the fashion industry”, explains Garcia-Maestas, emphasizing the festive nature of “fashion in as art “often associated with clothing or textile exhibition.
The material medium links the six artists presented in the Momentary exhibition at the scale of the building. But so are the multiple layers of meaning and criticism that “begin to converse with each other when seated side by side”.
“All the artists in the exhibition… really think about the socio-cultural implications of fashion,” Garcia-Maestas demonstrates. “Ideas of global consumerism, mass consumption, cycles of colonialism – how do these elements deconstruct or reconstruct these ideas around gender, race and class?” “
Some of these themes also go back to the origins of the Momentary factory. The six contemporary multimedia artists included were invited to react to the industrial architecture of the place to create site-specific and responsive works.
“It was important to me that we not only thought about what the architecture looks like today, but what was the history of the building? And how are these stories integrated into the story we tell through our exhibition? Garcia-Maestas said, thinking back to the start of the exhibition. “Thinking of this site as a former manufacturing workforce site, in particular, I felt there was a good connection to some of the consumer and mass production ideas that are happening. in the textiles included in this exhibition. “
One such example is found in Pia Camil’s “Skins Shirt Curtain” – a 65-foot-long, almost 10-foot-tall curtain constructed from t-shirts. On the back of the curtain, viewers can find labels with the clothing’s countries of origin while on the front, American slogans, political ads, and logos paint a different picture of consumption and work that could be harmed in their processes.
Likewise, the work of Troy Montes-Michie has truly “embraced the spirit of the exhibition,” says Garcia-Maestas. Taking a thoughtful approach to the site’s architecture, Montes-Michie’s work feels at home in the space, she says, while also reflecting an element capable (and used to) both publicize and conceal. his race and his sexuality.
“I think it’s helpful for visitors to have the context of these works, but I also just hope that visitors can have fun and appreciate the tactile nature of all of these works,” Garcia-Maestas suggests. “Because it’s hard to look at them and not want to touch some of them, even if you can’t touch them. Wendy Red Star’s feather dresses are so beautiful and so fun and vibrant. And Eric Mack’s hanging textiles are so vibrant, beautiful. Hopefully visitors can get away from it all and immerse themselves in textile art, as it’s not something the Momentary has had many opportunities to show.
And it’s a presentation that Garcia-Maestas insists it needs to be seen in person to fully appreciate the visual intricacies and deeper layers on display.
“By the time we came out of this sort of pandemic digital moment, we all got so used to feeling that we can see and understand a work digitally,” she notes. “Textiles just don’t translate very well digitally. It is therefore a truly enriching experience to come and see the works in person. And then these ideas really start to express themselves, because we all wear clothes, don’t we?
“We all have memories associated with specific textiles, colors, materials, textures, and you start to find your own connection to the work,” she adds. “So it’s been interesting; most people I talk to, their preferred setup is different. Sometimes we have exhibitions, and there are clearly favorite works in the exhibition. But I think this show, because textiles have all of these memories and meanings built in, people react very differently.
“In some form or a fashion”
WHEN – Until March 27
O – The Momentary, 507 SE St. in Bentonville
INFO – 367-7500, themomentary.org