ABOUT THIS EXHIBITION
ArtsWorcester Main Galleries
January 13 through February 12, 2023
Public reception: Friday, January 13, 6:00-9:00 PM (snow date: January 20)
Wearable or frameable, these works are all about fashion, textiles and styles. Prizes for Strut will be awarded by theo tyson, Penny Vinik Curator of Fashion Arts at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts. This exhibition will also showcase five new pieces by Worcester designers acquired by the Worcester Historical Museum for its Costume Collection.
ArtsWorcester exhibitions are sustained in part by the generous support of the C. Jean and Myles McDonough Charitable Foundation.
ABOUT WORCESTER HISTORICAL MUSEUM ACQUISITIONS
Since 1875, Worcester Historical Museum has fulfilled the role as the museum and library of the city of Worcester. The Museum’s three-dimensional collection of objects and works of art consists of approximately 30,000 items. This expansive and diverse collection relates to all aspects of Worcester’s political, social, and cultural history. The collection ranges from the 16th century to the present and includes items ranging in size from tiny lapel pins to oversized machinery, and in subject matter from store signs and tools to top hats and sports teams’ memorabilia.
The costume and textile collection is one of the strongest. Initiated in the early 20th century by historian, author, and photographer Harriette Merrifield Forbes, it contains thousands of pieces representative of Worcester’s extensive history. These items date from the 18th century to the present day and include a diverse array from dresses and hats to uniforms and quilts.
Items from the costume and textile collection have been exhibited at WHM and at institutions across the country. Recently, WHM’s 2021 – 2022 landmark exhibit ̶ PRETTY POWERFUL: 100 Years of Voting & Style showcased the stories of women's activism, empowerment, and struggle over the past century through 36 outfits and accessories. The exhibit and accompanying catalog featured treasures from WHM's extensive historic costume collection as well as loans from the community.
A goal of the PRETTY POWERFUL Committee was to bring WHM’s costume collection into the 21st century and acquire garments from young local designers that would make this collection more representative and inclusive of our richly diverse contemporary community. After several conversations between the PRETTY POWERFUL committee members and WHM staff, items were selected from these five designers: Yazbthegreat, Effie Danquah, Stevie Leigh, Emmanuel Qlynton Carboo, and Ernie Jubin.
The PRETTY POWERFUL committee and WHM staff are proud to have acquired these examples from these five designers. We are also grateful to ArtsWorcester for including these garments in Strut: A Members' Exhibition.
EXPLORE THE WHM ACQUISITIONS
Designer Name: Yazbthegreat
Title of Garment: Royal Garden
Medium: Cotton, Polyester, Fleece
Date Created: 2022
Artist Gregory Dubuisson, also known as Yazbthegreat, is an award-winning Haitian fashion designer, painter, musician, and founder of Urban Pigeons. In 2012, Urban Pigeons was born through ideas of unique, luxury, modern streetwear. Yazbthegreat has influenced the face of fashion in Worcester and Boston, leading him to showcase in New York, Thailand, and numerous events throughout the Northeast. His vivid and flamboyant designs are inspired by traditional and cultural patterns of Haiti, Guadeloupe, and Asia. The name “Urban Pigeons'' represents an artistic concept of inclusion, individual creativity, and self-expression within a collective.
Royal Garden is an original, one-of-a-kind, hand-sewn design. Its intricate outer shell complements outfits for casual and formal wear. His choice of a vivid yellow, red, and green pattern creates a luxurious, bold, and regal experience for the wearer. Yazbthegreat invites you to join the flock by stepping in style and being comfortable in what you wear.
Collection of Worcester Historical Museum, 2022.28.01
Designer Name: Effie Danquah
Title of Garment: 20th Anniversary Dress
Medium: Kente fabric (cotton & silk)
Date Created: July 2018
Effie Danquah is from Ghana. Her company is Danquah’s Home of Fashion. She started her business in 1998 because her dream was to establish herself in Worcester and open a fashion institute in the city. Danquah’s Fashion produces a variety of casual and formal designs showcasing her take on modern design influences juxtaposed with traditional African traditions. Effie is a Mother of Empowerment at Temple of the International Central Gospel Church where she and her husband are pastors. She aspires to open a fashion school in Worcester to keep African traditions alive.
She designed this Kente dress for her 20th anniversary in 2018. The dress incorporates a variety of colors with specific symbolic meanings and aesthetic effects. Kente is a type of silk and cotton fabric made of interwoven cloth strips and usually worn on special occasions. She felt confident and beautiful on her anniversary because the dress fit so well.
Collection of Worcester Historical Museum, 2022.29.01
Designer Name: Stevie Leigh
Title of Garment: Show Your Face
Medium: Upcycled organic cotton knit t-shirts, water-based screen-printing ink
Date Created: 2021
Stevie Leigh is a sustainable fashion designer based in Worcester, MA. She creates wearable art from upcycled materials. The alternative music scene heavily inspires her work. Her creation, Show Your Face, is a mash up of upcycled t-shirts Stevie Leigh designed, and screen printed as a supplement of her past collection “Thank You, Have An Emo Day.” She created her “Alt-Emojis” as a representation of the different archetypes of people you see at concerts. She first sold these t-shirts at the Vans Warped Tour in 2017 and reworked them into this piece to continue her work in creating art from materials that would otherwise be wasted.
Collection of Worcester Historical Museum, 2022.27.01
Designer Name: Emmanuel Qlynton Carboo
Title of Garment: Wavvz of Africa
Medium: Kente printed fabric (cotton & silk), polyester, cotton
Date Created: 2022
Emmanuel Qlynton Carboo, best known as Q, was born and raised in Accra, Ghana. He moved to the United States to live with my parents. For two to three years, Q lived in New York City. It was a hustling lifestyle where having a regular job wasn’t enough to fulfill my goals and future dreams. Therefore, he started trading shoes, buying sneakers off cheap sellers, repurposed/customized them with his own flair. This experience taught Q to always understand the current fashion trends as initially people will go by the aesthetic and then the designer’s vision.
In 2015, Q moved to Worcester. As a cashier at Lowe’s, he drew various designs (outfits, shoes) on receipts. After a few weeks, a customer saw his designs and invited Q to one of Worcester’s Fashion Shows. It was then that he was inspired, and in 2016 he established his brand, “Wavvznewage.” His brand, “Wavvznewage,” represents Q’s vision to combine the physical world with digital animation. His sketches transformed into logos and concepts which then were turned into merchandise. After saving up, Q was able to purchase a sewing machine, which revolutionized his business. He was able to initiate other ideas like combining music and painting into fashion as well as creating plus size clothing. “Wavvznewage” became a new world of fashion where people who have ideas and seek to be seen differently come to make their wildest fashion dreams come true. “Wavvznewage” goal is to inspire the next generation with fashion through music and visual art.
Collection of Worcester Historical Museum, 2022.30.01 a-c
Designer Name: Ernie Jubin/Solo Jubin
Title of Garment: The Journey of Solo Jubin “The Kimono Edition”
Medium: Black and White African Printed Kente Cloth (cotton & silk); Solo Jubin Customized Belt
Date Created: December 2022
Solo Jubin clothing was established in 2012. As a child, Ernie was very quiet. Dancing was my best friend. His father played music in the house every day, and Ernie would express myself by dancing. Dancing came first, fashion was second, and he wanted to take those two passions and create something new. Ernie’s friends know he’s an entertainer. He comes alive on the stage and loves to express himself through dance, facial expressions, and outfits. In his garments, different prints and patterns communicate to him to create something remarkable. The patterns are a rhythm on their own that work well with his Solo Jubin pieces. In his SJ men’s and women’s pieces, his goal is to have those garments transform the individual wearing them into someone who can conquer the world.
Growing up in a family who maintained its vibrant culture in a new land, he has been deeply influenced by the Ghanaian tradition of striving to look sharp and memorable. People from Ghana embrace the bold presence in the way they dress and accessorize. Strong patterns and colors are the hallmarks of their sartorial traditions. They are very proud of their kente cloth and its hand-made craftsmanship. Ernie pulls inspiration from his mother’s and grandmother's old photos. He is constantly mesmerized with how they carry their garments like their aurora’s as strong Black African Queens. By wearing Solo Jubin you will feel unstoppable and bold.
Collection of Worcester Historical Museum, 2022.31.01
Joshua Altobelli, Zheph, Skyre; Book I; Fire
digital print, 9” x 6” x 1”, 2022, $27 (sold)
This is my first novel that I have published. I wrote and illustrated all of it. It is a science fiction and fantasy novel with a lively yet relatable cast of characters.
Joan Avato, Beach Fashion
16" x 20”, 2019, $200
As I walked along the beach, I was surprised to come upon a photographer taking a picture of a model while she was standing in a boat. Her formal gown was the color of the sunset.
Amanda Baldwin, Heir of Solarik
digital painting, 11" x 14", 2022, Not For Sale
Kaitlin Beebe, Collected Reflections IV
acrylic, oil pastel, and collage on stretched canvas, 36" x 36", 2022, $1,975
First in the amalgam of processes, I structure the canvas with overlapping blind contour self-portraits. I use acrylic paint to highlight intertwined shapes from the drawings. To create my collage elements, I begin by sourcing material from fashion magazines. I gravitate to textile patterns that I used to be intimidated by, but I now express myself with, in life and art. These clippings are scanned and digitally manipulated and enlarged into archival prints. The collage pieces are traced from shapes in the initial drawings. A selection of cut-outs are mounted on foam core to cast shadows onto the canvas.
Stephen Bergeron, Runway
ceramic grout, acrylic, cement, 24" x 18", 2017, $924
Susan Black, Delightful Excess
acrylic with paper collage and mylar overlay on canvas, 21.5" x 17.5" x 1.25", 2022, $175
Carol Bloomfield, Strut Your Stuff
photograph / digital, 8" x 10", 2022, $200
Katarina Bloomingdale, Self Portrait 2022
acrylic on cradled wood panel, 8" x 8", 2022, $200
Self Portrait 2022 depicts an outfit. Clothes represent a huge portion of our identities, and yet they are often inaccessible to those who may be disabled, fat, poor, or sick. In these cases, we lose our identity and we must wear only what is available or accessible. This outfit is the first outfit I’ve been able to purchase for myself in about 5 years due to illness, and the first since coming out as non-binary. For me, this outfit is the perfect intersection between my gender identity and my sensory needs as an autistic adult. Owning it is a privilege.
Sally Bowditch, Saori Woven Dress
Saori weaving: rayon, 42” x 22”, 2022, Not For Sale
The fabric was woven with rayon yarn while I was attending weaving classes at Saori Worcester. I then attended a day long sewing workshop at the Saori studio and designed and made the dress.
Chelsea Bradway, Who Says Shopping Can't Be Glamorous
black and white photograph on fine art paper, 30" x 24", 2021, $475 (sold)
This photograph was born out of the idea. One is that we have all these fabulous clothes that we wait for an occasion to bring out of the closet. That seems so silly, why not wear them to vacuum, go grocery shopping or rake the leaves. Life will pass by in a moment, why not live it!
Julia Cahill, Mom Circa 1986
oil on canvas, 11" x 14" oval, 2022, Not For Sale
"Mom Circa 1986" is a portrait that captures my mom at Elm Park in the 1980s when perms, baggy t-shirts, bangles, and bright colors were quintessential to the time. My vision with this portrait is to help the viewer feel nostalgia through the colors of the painting and fashion trends of the time similar to that of when viewing a film photo in old photo books.
Aimee Cotnoir, The Walk
oil on canvas, 15" x 30", 2022, $500
This is a the second painting in a new body of work for which I haven't yet entirely thought out the corresponding artist statement. It is an exploration of painting, layering, and intertextuality. It is a painting created by the combining, editing, and reworking of several machine learning versions prompted by a slew of words, ideas, and phrases regarding fashion and art. The work is meant to be a discussion of the artist versus technology.
T.I.M.E. DaArtist, Baile Típico
acrylic yarn on monks cloth, 23 1/2" x 32 1/2", 2023, $950
This art work is an illustration of a Panamanian tribal dance “Baile Típico” & comes in a plethora of different dance styles like “El Tamborita” which is one of many dances. The dress you see the woman wearing is called “Pollera” and behind the woman is a geometric pattern called “La Mola.” La Mola is owned by the Kuna tribe, a print of the indigenous people of Panama. This form of art work is originally displayed on clothing. They’re often decorated with intricate needle work & many feature Panamanian tribal symbols. I designed mine with colors of the Panamanian flag.
Juror's note: T.I.M.E. DaArtist’s Baile Típico is defined not only by its beautiful and precise craftsmanship, but by the symbolism that flows through every aspect of the piece. Its colors, patterns, and the figure’s dress all reference traditional indigenous Panamanian culture. The juror enjoyed connecting these elements to the artist’s statement and learning about the intersection of dance, fashion, and culture.
Jennifer Davis Carey, Imagining Cahokia
vitreous enamel on copper, wood, feathers, 15” x 10” x 4”, 2022, $300 (sold)
Enameling, the fusing of finely ground glass to metal, is an ancient art dating to the Bronze Age. Requiring precise firing at temperatures generally between 1400 and 1650 degrees, the process renders permanent the vibrant transparent, opalescent, and opaque colors of glass frit. It is a medium placed firmly in the zone where art and craft merge.
Imagining Cahokia is informed by recent archaeology in Illinois of a city populated by indigenous people from about 1050-1350 CE. Cahokia represents the northern-most reach of the great civilizations of Mexico and Central America. Cahokia residents were renowned for their copper work.
Jessica DeHaemer, Autumn Leaves
hand-woven and hand knotted with wool, cotton, and acrylic yarns, recycled silk sari, recycled cotton sari, banana fiber yarn, recycled tee shirt fabric, 16" x 36", 2022, $400
Building upon the ancient tradition of hand weaving textiles, the artist hand weaves and hand knots freeform designs for her tapestries on a frame loom. The artist uses a mix of fibers such as recycled sari fabric, banana fiber yarn, and recycled tee shirts, along with traditional wool, silk, cotton, and acrylic yarns. Many are hand spun and hand dyed in traditional ways by other local artisans. The inspirations for her highly textural and colorful work are primarily landscapes and seascapes.
Alice Dillon, Key Portrait
thread on fabric, 10" x 20", 2022, Not For Sale
Kristi DiSalle, Radial Waves
yarn, acrylic paint, 24" diameter, 2022, $175
This piece is about color, texture, and movement. The cool colors are meant to recall ocean waves and their constant motion. As the waves undulate around the center, they draw the viewers' attention to the woven portion of the piece. The radial weaving maintains the motion of the waves as it weaves into a textured central focal point.
Annamarta Dostourian, Wearing the World (Heliacal Rising of a Star as Seen from a Blue Planet)
jeweler's wire, copper & industrial wire, Czech and Japanese crystal & glass beads, copper beads, wood, 24" x 13" x 20", 2018, $900
I envision my sculptural headdresses/apparel are magical windows allowing glimpses into unseen worlds when worn as living sculpture, allowing all people to wear crowns. I seek to resacralize apparel just as garments of antiquity signified dialogue with sacred dimensions.
References for this piece come from such sources as art historical depictions of globes/maps, Carahunge, ancient astronomical observatory in Armenia (5,500 BC) and science fiction cinema costume.
My practice relies on processes of weaving and crochet, translating these forms of women’s work into a contemporary practice with industrial materials. I loop and stitch wire, revealing interlaced form/emptiness, spheres encompassing the grid.
Rebecca Duffy, Reel Talk
digital photo, 11” x 17”, 2022, $150 (sold)
"Reel Talk" takes a look into the world of Competitive Irish Dance, the fashion and the fun.
Kate Egnaczak, Culotte Gown
Collection Clothes, graphite on marker paper, 8" x 10", 2022, Not For Sale
How do we quantify the human impact on a place? The "Collection Clothes" is a series of conceptual garments created for the collection and categorization of trash and other debris found on walking surfaces. Designed to complement and maximize walking as artistic practice, "Culotte Gown" is the first in a series of work clothes visually mending denim segments to elongated vinyl pockets. The garment's ultra-wide fluted leg design incorporates varying elongated see-through pockets, a detachable train, and a fanny pack to add capacity. Imagine the artist cloaked in this, moving down a road or sidewalk, collecting artifacts of human consumerism.
David Etedgee, Ancient Patterns in New Light
stained glass, 27” x 18”, 2022, $1800
This window is based on a textile pattern on a woven rug acquired on a trip to Morocco. The woven and tile patterns in Moroccan design and architecture are both inspirational and personal to me as they reflect my own Moroccan origins.
Sharon Freed, 10 Songs
digital photography, 16" x 20", 2021, Not For Sale
Timothy Gannon, Girl in a Blue Shirt
oil on canvas, 16" x 20", 2022, Not For Sale
Leonard Gerwick, Man in a Teal Shirt
acrylic on linen, 36" x 24", 2021, $400
John Gintoff, koochoor
drawn on inkjet print, 11" x 22", 2022, $846
The Russian word for couture is drawn over the original collage.
Francine Gintoff, Dress For Success
acrylic paint and ink on found vintage chiffon dress, 50" x 24", 2021, $891
This dress was the 1st inspiration for 55 dresses that followed. The series comprises vintage dresses from 1910-to contemporary examples. They range from children's styles to adult.
Libia Goncalves-Quintero, Bambuco Dress, Heritage of Colombia
mixed media, 16" x 20", 2022, $250
Typical women dress for this iconic musical and dance genre of Colombia, which indigenous origins come from the times of the colony; related to the countryside people. Women wear a ruffled white blouse that hangs off the shoulders adorned with lace and ribbons. A wide skirt made of satin, opens during dance showing the white petticoat made of tulle and lace.
The Bambuco dance represents a couple’s romance, the flirt, the conquer through movement. In my work, the man is represented by the hat, that he usually throws on the floor, and she pretends to step on it.
Emily Gowdey-Backus, Matching Set in Rust
cotton, spandex corduroy blend, 69" x 24", 2022, Not For Sale
This is a matching outfit I made to wear to a wedding this summer in which guests were requested to rust-colored clothing. I had the fabric in my collection and chose to create an Ashton Top by Helen's Closet and a wide-leg pair of Free Range Slacks by Sew House Seven. As garment prices rise and quality plummets, and clothing manufacturing practices continue to harm the environment, it's increasingly important to me to procure clothing through sustainable methods and sometimes that means sew it myself.
Martha Hauston, Mother Wore a Pillbox Hat
mixed media assemblage, 13" x 17", 2022, Not For Sale
First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy (1929-1994), was an international style icon known for style and elegance. She popularized "pillbox hats" and wore a Halston pink pillbox and Chanel pink suit on the day of President John F. Kennedy's assassination in 1963.
My class practiced lettering that day, when the Principal announced the President had been shot. Jackie's strength and grace fortified the nation and was a model for my Baby Boomer generation.
This conceptual construction transforms personal memories into physical form. Found materials and constructions combine to evoke ot reflect experiences. My mother and I copied Jackie's hair and clothing style.
Lisa Hayden, Woodland Scarf
fabrics, wool embroidery thread, wood, 6” x 14” x 36”, 2022, $95
I created this abstract scarf with a focus on texture and abstract forest elements. I’m imagining a woodland fairy hanging their scarf on tree branches at the end of their day. The circular shape of a wrapped scarf has always reminded me of birds’ nests - maybe a bird will come and make a nest while the scarf is unattended.
Obiamaka Igwenagu, Aplomb Pieced Together
oil paint on canvas, 40” x 30”, 2022, $1,250
Juror's note: The painting technique in Obiamaka Igwenagu's Aplomb Pieced Together is utterly captivating. Noting the abstracted piecing and camouflage effect, the juror reflected on ideas of visibility and invisibility experienced by people of color. The juror, like many of us, is looking forward to where Igwenagu takes this imagery next.
Elijah Johnson, Harry Styles
acrylic on teabag, 6 1/2” x 8 1/2”, 2022, $200 (sold)
British pop star and fashion icon.
Courtney Johnson, The Corner
denim collage, glue, tempera paint and marker on paper, 11” x 14”, 2022, $250
I tend to express myself through my home decor. There is a corner in my home that I find simple yet beautiful. In this work, I chose to simplify this corner by creating shapes and using a monochromatic denim color scheme. I used layering/collage to create rhythm and texture.
Christopher King, General Utility Non-Theorizing Environmental Control Pullover
woven fabric twine and cotton yarn, 22" long x 36" wide x 7" thick, 2022, $500
I experiment with up cycling materials into artwork, clothing, and sculpture. I use polyester and non-woven textile waste torn into long strips, twisted into twine, then woven with cotton yarn to form thick, flexible, and unique fabrics. These fabrics are hand sewn with twine joining selvedge loops to form this comfortable pullover. To me, the arms are reminiscent of those of The Robot in the 1960's television series, Lost In Space, thus, the title of this work.
Louise Laplante, Paris Summer
pastel on collaged vintage paris guidebook pages, 39" x 26", 2021, $3,800
In my work I used collaged vintage book pages as the background for my pastel drawings. Paris has been the style capital of the world for many years. These vintage Paris guidebook pages inspired the stylish woman's bathing "costume" from the 1930's I placed on them.
Teresa Lamacchia, Zigzag Dress with Crochet Bodice
acrylic paint, oil paint stick, yarn on canvas, 24"w x 36"h, 2022, $1,000
This painting refers to my interest in pattern and textile design, my love of working with yarn and my fond childhood memories of paper dolls with their cut-out clothing.
Stevie Leigh, Promise Everything
upcycled denim scraps, selvedge, thread, metal zipper, 38" x 26" x 7", 2022, $1,899
Stevie Leigh is a sustainable fashion designer based in Worcester, MA. Promise Everything was conceived from her process to make her other denim designs. To create her designs, Stevie must process the denim scraps she receives from tailor shops to be upcycled. She does this by removing the hem, selvedge and side seam; creating a lot of waste. Stevie decided to use this waste to create a textured textile. Stevie designed this coat to show that even the smallest of material need not to be discarded. Promise Everything is a reversible garment that also features a non-distressed denim patchwork side.
Juror's note: Stellar craftmanship and sustainability come together in Stevie Leigh’s Promise Everything. The juror noted how environmentally damaging denim is (requiring 1,800 gallons to produce one pair of jeans). They admired how the artist creatively used every last bit, not just the larger pieces of jeans that one might expect to see in an upcycled garment. Leigh manages to bring attention to the environmental impact of the clothing industry while also creating a dynamic and sturdy wearable garment.
Edward Lilley, Shimmer And Shake
scored mylar with alcohol paint, 30” x 12”, 2022, $800
I always find reflecting surfaces in art intriguing. Here, I have scored the Mylar and then added colored paint. Combinations are seen everywhere in fashion and dance.
Madeleine Lord, Fall Collection
welded found steel, 59” x 29æ x 7", 2022, $3000
All my works starts with the story in the scraps. The legging and Bolero scraps were the inspiration for this piece. Working with solid and see through to imitate heels to head was a blast.
Ashley MacLure, Daddy Likes Your Hair Long
mixed media: collage, drawing, Play-Doh, acrylic, ink, 2”x2”, 2022, $500
I was not allowed to cut my hair. "Daddy and Papa like long hair", my mother said.
I learned to please everyone around me.
I never learned to say no; not in high school, not in college.
My body does not exist for others.
My hair is mine. My body is mine.
What messages are we sending to our children through seemingly benign statements?
I was more than the length of my hair.
Rebecca McGee Tuck, Rogue Balloon Robe
graduation gown, single use plastic packaging, found and reused mylar balloons, thread, 45"x60", 2021, $1500
Wrack Line- A trail of debris left on the beach by the high tide.
I walk the wrack line of the coast of Massachusetts, collecting debris that washes ashore. The impact of trash in our environment has driven me to take a more active role in the ocean’s protection.
This robe is covered with balloons collected on the beach. It raises awareness to the constant misuse of the ocean’s ecosystem. I transform pieces of marine debris into works of art and symbols of hope; calling attention to the consequences of polluting our oceans and encouraging a new commitment to action!
Anne McNevin, Over the Rainbow
photography, 19" x 26", 2020, $350
Parker Milgram, Macramé
colored pencil, marker, Uni-Ball pen, and Wite-Out on paper, 6” x 8" (without frame), 2022, $100 (sold)
Abu Mwenye, Abstract Women’s Skater Dress
polyester, spandex, 2019, Not For Sale
Dress to impress with this sleeveless skater dress! The soft fabric and flared skirt give it an elegant twist that brings out the intricate design with a beautiful vibrancy.
This dress is printed with sections from original artworks which makes each dress an artistic original.
Raven Nelson, Untitled Self Portrait In Drag
graphite and charcoal on paper, 18” x 25”, 2021, $70
This piece was created when I first began exploring gender and my transition into my identity as non-binary. I sketched myself looking in the mirror modeling drag that I felt identified with my idealized gender expression. My shirt is vintage and the top buttons are left open exposing some of my feminine chest, yet I sport a pencilled on mustache and a masculine up-do. I feel comfortable in the way that my feminine side intertwines with my masculine side. I crave to have someone look at me and question which gender I could possibly be.
Kat O'Connor, Shift
acrylic on wood panel, 9 1/2" X 4 3/4", 2022, $395 (sold)
'Shift' plays with the idea of clothing hiding or exposing the body beneath. It takes its cue from Greek sculptures of women where thin drapery allowed the artist to explore the human form. In order to create a diaphanous, ethereal quality to the fabric, I repeatedly layered paint on the wood surface then scraped it off. The body exists only where the shift exists, all other figurative elements are removed.
Emmanuel Opoku, Good Listener
oil on canvas, 18" x 24" inches, 2022, $3600
As a contemporary artist, I employ inspirations particularly from the surrealist technique – an involvement of juxtaposition with which I navigate my diasporic experience relating to uncertainties and forms of cultural assimilation. I consider photography as the initial stage of my paintings, and I understand photography as the means to present my body as an object. My portrait navigates the mysteries of identity that are shaped by time, space, and multiple experiences. The work expresses the status of and the values of the individual in the picture as well as expanding their autobiographical narratives and emphasizing the personal qualities.
Juror's note: The impeccably dressed figure in Emmanuel Opoku’s Good Listener is wearing, in the words of the juror, “jazz from a fashion perspective.” The figure’s clothing and the artist’s surreal abstraction go hand-in-hand in this vibrant and compelling portrait.
Sheila Papetti, Fortitude
wool and Italian leather coat, constructed with traditional hand tailoring methods, 60" tall by 26" wide, 2022, Not For Sale
Both the design and title of the piece were inspired by the artist's French ancestry. The selection of color and material are to emphasize the strength of the woman who wears it.
Stephen Paulson, I'm Too Sexy for My Hat
wood, metal, glass, found objects, 28" x 21" x 11", 2022, $525
Sophie Pearson, Locket
oil on wood, 6”x12", 2022, $120 (sold)
Lockets are personal; they contain photos of loved ones, items that we want to hold close, sometimes even the hair of those we care for. Mine contains the following: several sharks teeth I found with my husband in the place I grew up, a seashell from the same beach, a piece of pottery from the home in which I spent my teenage years, and some Swarovski crystals just for fun. The front is glass to show off its contents. It is special, it is mine, and it feels like home.
Anju Pillai, Hijab or No Hijab, We Will Shine!
acrylics on canvas, 16”/16”, 2022, $375
This artwork is dedicated to the strength and determination of the women in Iran in their fight for freedom and a solemn tribute to those who died in this fight.
To every woman across the globe fighting for the right to be allowed to make choices.
To wear or not wear a hijab or any type of clothes should be the individual woman’s choice. No government or person has the right to dictate what a woman should be wearing, saying, behaving, or doing with her body.
My Body, My Choice!
To woman’s rights!
Dominic Quagliozzi, Suit
used hospital gowns and thread, Men's size 36S jacket, 30 pants, 2019, Not For Sale
Suit is a wearable soft sculpture made out of used hospital gowns that I wore during a hospitalization for complications from my double lung transplant. This work is serves as costume and uniform for me, as I feel like I'm cosplaying both a chronically ill patient and an healthy person, oscillating between two worlds.
Erin Reid, Caitlyn
oil on canvas, 30” x 40”, 2020, $1,250
Eve Rifkah, Tied to Flight
fabric, vintage ties, satin, 60" high x 20" includes height of stand, 2015, $250
Since my adolescence when my father worked as a cutter for the garment industry, I have been under the allure of textiles.
I have done spinning, weaving, knitting, as well as stitching by hand and machine. I have used textiles to make picnic baskets, boxes, backgammon sets, quilts as well as clothing. I believe that the items we use in our daily lives ought to be beautiful and made with care.
Rachel Rinker, Sinful Colors Protect Me
acrylic and collage on canvas, 20”x10”, 2022, $875
“Sinful Colors Protect Me” is loaded with a passion for protecting queer and trans bodies. There is a kind of armor often found in what people wear to be safer in public spaces. There is a hint of irony in “Sinful Colors” from the name of the golden nail polish color I use in this piece and the inclusion of an “America the Beautiful” national parks pass holder. With the dangerous and real fear that exists in this country of queer and trans bodies, comes “Protect Me.” Protect queer and trans lives because they matter, period (all fashion choices aside).
Pamella Saffer, Legacy
found plastic, cane, 11" X 14", 2022, Not For Sale
What determines precious or fashionable? What, precisely, do we value? What legacy do we leave for those who come after?
What do we do with all this plastic?
The oldest living participatory democracy on Earth is widely considered to be the Iroquois Confederacy. Its founding document,
the Great Law of the Haudenosaunee, is based on an ancient Iroquois philosophy:
“In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations.”
Piya Samant, Jasmine Marigold
oil on linen panel, 12”x9”, 2021, $950
For centuries, western artists have celebrated women by portraying them as beautiful, powerful, and as nobility. Few parallels exist for South Asian women in art because we see them playing their designed roles in society. They have been captured as doting mothers, loyal wives, goddesses in temples, and homemakers performing chores Seldom does the art world have them as a muse to capture their beauty for who they are independent of their roles.
This painting is part of a collection that portrays South Asian women in ephemeral moments of solitude, beauty, and thoughts of self-worth, free from societal burdens.
Brittany Severance, Butterfly Goddess
archival inkjet print, 11" x 14", 2017, $120
Edwin Smith, Flower Pattern #9
photo composite, 16” x 20”, 2022, $200
I have been experimenting this year with patterns and mandalas created from digital captures of flowers and other natural elements.
Catherine Smith, Self-portrait in a Corset and Puffy Sleeves
archival print on paper, 8”x10”, 2022, $200
I have collected photographs for years, mostly old images of women in pants, before it became acceptable for us to wear these garments in public. I am always looking for examples of uncomfortable clothing and just found this from one the late 1890's recently. The woman’s faint smile may have been genuine but I can only look at this image and feel pain. With a little help from photoshop, it has because a self-portrait.
Michelle Stevens, Chicky Shirt
fabric marker on fabric, XL Crew Neck Sweatshirt on Clothes Hanger, 2022, $145
Jill Strait, Rosie
watercolor, colored pencil and beadwork, 14.25” x 17.25” framed, 2022, $225
This is the first complete piece in a series I am creating of watercolors embellished with beaded embroidery. This combines my history of beading which dates back to my childhood, and my love of watercolor. This series depicts local and not so local musicians and their instruments with patterns and flora. This is Rosie of Rosie Porter and the Neon Moons, from Western Massachusetts.
Jacob Strock, Abominable Amalgamation 002: Fashion
mixed-media sculpture and collage magazine cutouts collaged onto a button-down shirt stuffed with t-shirts and a wig, draped upon a 27”x12” stretched canvas attached to a clothes hanger, 30"x30"x4", 2022, $200
Created for Strut, "Fashion" is the second installment in my new collage series of what I dub "abominable amalgamations." This work allows me to throw every material I have at the canvas without abandon, without standards for myself, without expectations, and with a sense of play, release, and discovery. The meanings of each work is shown to me progressively as I work on it. This one, of course, releases ideas of fashionable expression, gender expression and expectations, personal expression and time periods of fashion trends.
Jaimee Taborda, Untitled
cyanotype, wire, glitter, sequins, 9"x12", 2022, $175
Pamela Taylor, Vuitton
gouache on panel, 8x10, 2022, $350
Plein air, Champs-Élysées, Paris
Cathy Taylor, Crone Robe
patchwork cloth, 36"x 36"x24", mannequin, 2021, Not For Sale
I was brought up with my last name Weaver and have always been attracted to images with spiders and spiderwebs. As I am getting older I put together this crone robe and wear it whenever I need to reacquaint myself with my spider beginnings and the interconnectedness of life.
Trevor Toney, Glam-O-Rama
reconstituted east Indian rosewood, Baltic birch plywood, acrylic paint, 11"x8"x2.25", 2022, $600
My work is about wood and its interaction with shape and color. My forms are constructed with Baltic birch plywood and then veneered with wood. I then add paint in ways that compliment the qualities of the veneer while respecting its innate natural traits.
Juror's note: In the words of the juror, Trevor Toney’s Glam-O-Rama is “a super explosion of fashion and art coming together.” This funky shoe embraces the spirit of this exhibition, and features perfected technique, bold color choices, and smart, clean angles.
Simon Tozer, Dressed as a Deer During Hunting Season (Barre, MA)
video and performance, 00:40 seconds, 2022, Not For Sale
"Dressed as Deer" is a test as the first in a series of exposing myself in the wilderness during hunting season. Following my move from Worcester to Barre after earning my MFA, I had my first experience residing in a rural area. I understood the draw of the environment, while constantly fearing the contrast between an artistic nature and the eyes of a red town. I am embarking to confront my notions of displacement and investigate ideas of masculinity.
Katherine Valkyrie, Suit of Spite
acrylic on canvas, 24”x 24”, 2022, $200
Over the years, I've found myself with a wardrobe that's a mix of what would be considered traditionally male or traditional female clothes. I enjoy wearing both, either, or mixing it up, and breaking and contesting norms that currently exist. So, while some might argue whether a person simply either male or female, I would ask them again to consider neither.
Michelle Valois, Manifest Under The Full Moon
acrylic on canvas with pyrite, jewelry, gems and dried paint flowers, 20” X 16”, 2022, $250
1970 Scene, sweethearts manfesting a life together with light of the full moon.
Mihoko Wakabayashi, Double layered coat
alpaca, wool, 22" x 13" x 53", 2022, Not For Sale
I made this coat for myself last year. The outside layer is all alpaca yarn from local farms and the inside layer is all my handspun wool. It took a long time to spin enough to make the fabric. It is very practical and fashionable. It appears Japanese kimono style, which outside layer fabric is modesty but inside layer is playful and colorful. The slow fashion is my aim. Knowing the source of the fiber and making yarn, weaving, designing and sewing brouht me so much pleasure and I will cherish this coat for a long time.
Tatiana Watkins, Untethered Ensemble
upcycled thrifted clothes, 2022, hand-dyed cloak, top: $100, fringe pants: $60"
Jill Watts, Woke Up On The Wrong Side Of The Grass
cone 10 ceramics, stains, glazes, monofilament, fiber hat, glass head for base, photo images by Anne Mcnevin of artist in graveyard, 10" X 12" X 10", 2022, $700
A wise woman says repeatedly that, "It's a good day if you wake up on the right side of the grass." We know that one day, we will wake up on the wrong side of the grass. In some traditions, it is said that the dead do not realize they are deceased and wonder why they are not being included in their old life so food is set out for them and Lamas remind them that they have died and need to let go of their previous life, thus the artist wearing a portion of "ground" in the graveyard.
David Wesley White, Jingoist Jester Hat
White House souvenir snapback, vintage American flag, cotton, thread, down goose feathers, various fabric, yarn, bell, 24" x 24" x 84", 2021, $2,000
This tongue-in-cheek jester hat sarcastically critiques American imperialism by turning symbols of war into a playful headpiece. The American flag has been cut up and crafted into spires with colorful, frilly details. The medieval court jester played an important role in medieval Europe—to entertain, educate, and challenge the ruling class, much like artists and comedians in the modern era.
Matt Wright, Andrae By Trifilo
digital inkjet print, 16”x24”, 2013, Not For Sale
Mark Zieff, You Can Talk Until You Are Blue In The Face
colored pencil on Canson paper, 24" x 18", 2021, $1,900
I have always been fascinated with old, manufactured objects – the well-worn and imperfect. These objects are a link with the past, our human past. Though ordinary, they are a quiet reminder that the true meaning and richness of life still comes from the simple and mundane activities of everyday living.
More recently I have begun to focus on our relationships with clothing - it is the most complex and unique among manufactured objects. Many of the clothes in my drawings are my own and I use my artwork as a way to explore my own connections with the past.