To Wear?

To Wear?

16 November - 3 December 2011

Gabriella Ingram, Gemma Land, Lynn Denison, Pip Culbert, Priscilla Purcell

In To Wear?, fashion, style and art are inextricably linked in works that defy the boundaries of sculpture and clothing. The show features unique and extraordinary works ranging from luxurious paper kimonos and a dress embroidered with insects to deconstructed garments or silk scarves and handbags made from highly polished etching plates.

The viewer is invited to experience works of art which have become or been inspired by different garments. Each work is made of beautiful materials which are not conventional to the fashion world. In stark contrast to the rapid production rates in the fashion industry, every piece in To Wear? emanates a sense of timelessness and outstanding quality.

Priscilla Purcell’s works resonate with colour and evoke a myriad of different countries and cultures, from Turkish turquoise to Mayan gold. She uses materials as diverse as inks and gold leaf, to polyfiller in her large sculptural pieces and works on paper. Powerful and striking, a life size paper kimono draws together Priscilla’s skills in papermaking, textiles and embroidery as well as her experiences travelling to remote areas where paper is made symbiotically alongside fabrics. In Prisicilla’s series of ceremonial robes she explores how design and art can intensify a sense of great power and influence. The pieces are based on the shape and proportion the Japanese Kimono, here adorning the walls of the gallery. Priscilla draws her inspiration and materials from her personal and professional experiences; travel throughout Asia, Africa and the Americas is reflected in her work and the varied textures, as is the Tarot, Haiku poetry, the significance of symbol, colour and number in different cultures. In a contrast of scale, the smaller two dimensional works also included in the exhibition hang unframed, allowing the viewer to engage with the materials and deep, rich colours.

Lynn Denison explores the decorative, symbolic and emotional qualities of clothing and its powers to attract, disguise and defend. Lynn’s paper sculptures are inspired by personal memories as well as more universal experiences of fate, fortune and change. The shapes of the dresses themselves evoke Velazquez’s Meninas; the stiff white paper stands proud, but empty, leaving the viewer to imagine the person within. Through these dresses and her works on paper, Lynn’s work is immersed in the surreal and the fantastical. Moody and evocative painted landscapes stretch across the hem of another dress. These timeless landscapes represent how personal experiences become part of the fabric of family memories and traditions. In a more macabre work, Lynn has meticulously stitched dead wasps onto a dress. Lynn is a true tailor of fairytales.

Gabriella Ingram has created a stunning series of evening bags, which are made from metal etching plates and taffeta. The highly polished nickel, silver or copper metals exude rich, luxurious colours, which are bent around the black fabric. However it is the detailed imagery of these plates which make these pieces so unusual The imagery is derive