Body adornment for the age of overconsumption
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.
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.
March – April
The exhibition has completed its time at the Manning Regional Art Gallery, Taree NSW > See media coverage
8 August – 27 November
The exhibition has completed its time at Jervis Bay Maritime Museum and Gallery, Huskisson NSW > See commentary
10 February – 1 April
Gympie Regional Gallery, Gympie QLD
Artist’s floor talk: Tuesday 11 February, 11 am.
10 April – 26 May
Lapunyah Art Gallery, Chinchilla QLD
15 October – 28 November
Manly Art Gallery and Museum, Sydney NSW
4 February – 1 May
Hurstville Museum and Gallery, Sydney NSW
26 June – 11 September
Maitland Regional Art Gallery, Maitland NSW
Interested in hosting?
Galleries are welcome to contact Ruth about hosting the exhibition at their venue.