What does it mean to derive pleasure from the always-complicated performance of gender and sexuality? To sometimes revel in the artifice of glamour, beauty and excess? Exploring the messy ways women, queer, and trans people paint, poke, and primp themselves, the group exhibition Adorned considers and respects the materiality and power of gendered consumer objects, tracing the contradictions of luxuriating in the techniques of seduction bred by capitalism.
The aesthetics of glamour and excess have long been employed as means of transgressing norms of moderation, having the potential to function both as resources for subversion and as sources of oppression. These experiential tensions overwhelm subjects, with feelings of perplexity marking the struggle between overlapping, opposing, and asymmetric forces of power. The works in Adorned, by artists Karen Asher, Rah Eleh, Jeremy Laing, Robert Anthony O’Halloran, Jonah Strub, Sarah May Taylor, and Shellie Zhang, engage themes of class, race, queerness, gender exploration, beauty, and stereotype. Straddling the lines between tenderness and danger, vulnerability and revolt, the artists explore glamour, intimacy and stigma through the lens of portraiture, both photographic and sculptural.
Curated by Laura Carusi