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5 Artists Exploring Identity Through Clothes & Fashion

Throughout human history, Clothing has been worn for a wide variety of reasons. It is worn to establish one’s gender, increase one’s sexual allure, advertise one’s age, profession, religion, social group, and political leanings, participate in rituals, express one’s feelings, and express one’s status in society.

And that is precisely what our new exhibition “Ready to Wear” is about. It describes the fabrics and clothes that weave their way through our lives from birth to death through the minds of a diverse group of artists.

For our exhibition “Ready To Wear”, we received so many wonderful entries that it became hard for our curator, Celine Gabrielle to select only a few of them. We wish that we could have included all of them in our exhibition, but it was not possible. So our curator spent an extensive amount of time selecting the best of the bunch, and those selected artists are as follows:

Heather Hauptman, Dawn Stetzel, Erin Hollingshead, Laura Ann Schroeder, Amelie Vallieres, Mara Ahmed, Nikita Solanki, Adrienne Shishko, Piyusha Patwardhan, Jini Lee, Sandrine Dickel, Evelyn Morgan, Kassondra Friedman, Allison Moyers, Niculae Ruxandra, Natasha Muluswela, Kaitlin Mason, Sue Ransley, Katrina Niswander, Camille Myles, Tara Embree, Kamryn Shawron & Kathryn Knu.

As you all know, every Friday we feature 5 artists from our own community and showcase their work in our “Arts to Hearts Feature Article”. But this time we decided to feature 5 Artists from our exhibition “Ready to Wear,” which explored the ways in which people’s clothing choices may reveal or conceal aspects of their personality. 

So keep on reading to learn about them all.                                   

Dawn Stetzel (@dawnstetzelstudio)

Dawn Stetzel is a sculptor living in the United States on the Long Beach Peninsula on the southern coast of Washington. She uses her work to maintain a sense of drive through political and environmental doom, looking at what makes people want to take part in treks, feats of endurance for activism and action spurring change through what seems ridiculous, unimaginable or impossible. She has an MFA from The University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, has exhibited widely, at Grounds for Sculpture, Disjecta and the Portland Biennial, shown internationally and has lectured in the United States, China and Brazil

According to her, “Housedress explores whom I relate to in my community. Within this piece is my sombre acknowledgement of the fact that I relate to and gravitate toward a community that I can never really be a part of. The house structures on Housedress are similar to shantytowns with shared walls and barely held together roofs. I relate to these structures in part because they exist via resourcefulness that is not visible in other communities. I feel connected to this community, yet will always be separate. Like the clothing I wear, I am of it, but not truly. Housedress is wearable, part of me for a brief moment. I can be in it and of it and it can provide a temporary sense of shelter and belonging. Within this work is the search for my community and my yearning to belong”.

Amelie Vallieres (@amelievallieresart)

Amélie Vallières creates modern portraits that remind us of classical portraiture using glazing techniques while embracing words, polka dots, and a contemporary aesthetic. Her work is delicate, fun, and unconventional. She uses painted words to create empowering affirmation portraits and to create fine art pieces that elevate her collector’s spirit. When she’s not spending time in the studio, she is mothering two children who love to draw and paint.

According to her, “In my work, I tend to leave clothing to the bare minimum by keeping the raw canvas aesthetic or leaving the clothing very white and flat. Approaching clothing this way gives me the opportunity to make the portraits stand out even more and play around with patterns. I use patterns to give more depth and meaning to my portraits. It grounds my muses in the emotion they need to convey.”

Katrina Niswander (@katrinanart)

Katrina Niswander is an internationally collected fine artist, interior designer, and life coach working out of her home studio in the rust belt mini-metropolis of Toledo Ohio. She has a fascination with the feeling of home and the spaces in which our most precious memories are made. She passionately believes in the power of self-love and the beauty and power of living your most authentic and aligned life. She spends her day’s painting and creating, working on her own home, leading others through digital interior design consulting and self-worth-focused life coaching, and spoiling her two cats.

According to her, “I collect old, forgotten and discarded photographs. Most of the time I have no background on these photos – zero information at all. Much of what can be gleaned about the people in my photos can be found through their adornment. I hope that my works raise questions of adornment and remind us, women, that no matter how we choose to express ourselves and share our bodies with the world – we are inherently worthy of love and respect, and we are innately enough.”

Jini Lee (@cutout.narrative)

Jini Lee’s paper collage <cutout narrative> is a story that connects the actualities in dreams to the denials of realities. It attempts to rid of the works of completion as defined by one’s vantage point and discover anew the daily through new assignments. The story Jini creates is a renewed completion that is both awkward yet natural, and quite personal but tells the story of everyone.

According to her, “The brands and styles she wears represent not only a person’s taste but also the world around her. But can the clothes, accessories, and makeup really tell who they are? With all of this, can I really say I know enough about people’s hearts and minds? In particular, the magazine is showing a lot of ready-to-wear by style, season, and lifestyle. And wearing or owning something that looks cool, glamorous, and trendy creates the illusion that you can be that person. But, is that really the case? Looking at the women in the magazine, I imagined the true heart behind the created images shown in the media. Visible clothes, ornaments, and hairstyles stimulate our desires, but what we really want may be an invisible mind that can be translated into a landscape. I express the things we dream and imagine through collages that combine new images with self-portraits of women.”

Tara Embree

Tara Embree is a visual artist living in Vancouver, BC, Canada. After graduating with a BFA from Emily Carr University. she began working in the Film Industry designing and fabricating Props and Special Effects. She have developed a Visual Arts practice in textile sculpture that runs parallel to her work in film.

According to her, “The dual function of textiles as both a physical covering and as a visual signifier runs deeply through my work. I use clothing as a sculptural building block. The inherent nature of an individual piece of clothing, a sweater or a glove, refers directly back to the body that wore it. At its essence, that sweater or glove becomes not only a stand-in for the body but it speaks of an individual narrative for that body.

For me, most often, that narrative expresses anxiety about the physical body. Anxiety about violence or disease, accident or mutation. While my work is an expression of these anxieties there is an inherent resilience in it that comes from the inherent comforting and protective nature of clothes”.

If you want to see the work of other selected artists then click on the button below and see it all.

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Rabia Khan

Rabia is a writer, a wife and a mother. she belongs to the city of Peshawar, Pakistan. She works as a content writer for Arts to Hearts and writes for emerging artists that are finding their ways in the world of art.
She has done her bachelors in Communication & Media Studies from Fatima Jinnah Women University and secured 3rd position.
She is friendly, honest, down to earth and a very hardworking person. She makes sure that she does her work with utmost dedication and with perfection. Her goal in life is to become a successful writer and wants to open an organization where she can help the underprivileged people to make their life better.

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