Barely Wearable

Body adornment for the age of overconsumption


A Very Close Shave
A VERY CLOSE SHAVE
Disposable razor blades.
CAFFEINATED
Used coffee pods, neoprene.
TICKLE THE IVORIES
Piano keys, felt, wire.
HEAR ME OUT
CD discs, stainless steel wire, alligator clips.
SIX-PACK DREAMING
Beer bottle caps, beer can six pack holders.

About the exhibition

This body of work is a continuation of Ruth Downes’ passion for reappropriating everyday materials and objects to celebrate their intrinsic beauty. Materials for these thirty ‘wearable’ artworks have been gleaned from a diverse range of sources – from aircraft headsets to coffee capsules. Detritus from nature has also been salvaged to be re-born as a fashion statement.

By reimagining these materials she has created works that transcend their utilitarian function, casting them in a fresh light. The works question our accepted values and how we award status by projecting these everyday materials into the realm of art. They have a preciousness that confounds our expectations irrespective of their humble origins. This is much more than a simple ‘up-cycling’ exercise – Downes has an acute awareness of the potential of these materials. Her trademark humour also runs as a thread throughout the exhibition adding a further dimension.

These 3D works are mounted on a spectrum of coloured ellipses (350 – 750mm high) with several ‘busting out’ on mounted body forms. Some works are augmented by photo portraits of models (of varying sizes and gender) attempting to make them wearable. 

> See Ruth’s CV


Tour exhibition dates: 2020-2023

Over three years Ruth’s ‘Barely Wearable’ exhibition will be on the road in Eastern Australia. It can be seen in seven regional galleries in Sydney, Hunter and South Coast NSW, as well as in Queensland.

2020

March – April

The exhibition has completed its time at the Manning Regional Art Gallery, Taree NSW > See media coverage

8 August – 30 November (Opening at 12 noon, Saturday 8 August)

Jervis Bay Maritime Museum and Gallery, Huskisson NSW

2021

15 February – 3 April

Gympie Regional Gallery, Gympie QLD

17 April – 26 May

Lapunyah Art Gallery, Chinchilla QLD

15 October – 28 November

Manly Art Gallery and Museum, Sydney NSW

2022

4 February – 1 May

Hurstville Museum and Gallery, Sydney NSW

2023

24 June – 10 September

Maitland Regional Art Gallery, Maitland NSW


Interested in hosting?

Galleries are welcome to contact Ruth about hosting the exhibition at their venue.

> Click here for information for galleries

BRAZARRE
Bra underwires and hooks, strainers, mesh, clips.
HARD WIRED MOUSE
Computer keyboard parts, adapters, mouse.
34B FOR A WARRIOR PRINCESS
Rubber (Viking weave), stainless steel chocolate pots, nickel.
HARD BOILED
Plastic egg, egg cups, wire springs.
MIXED FRUIT AND VEGIES
Mesh produce bags, PVC, neoprene trim.