A very close shave
Tickle the ivories, Out damned spot, A very close shave

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


Available Dates and Exhibition Details

Available dates: 01/02/2020 – 30/11/2022
Exhibition size: Under 50 sq or running metres
Organised by: Manly Art Gallery & Museum
Price: Contact to discuss
Accompanying materials available: Exhibition Tour Manual, Installation Support, Labels, Public Program Opportunities, Signage.
Other materials: Saleable neckpieces and brooches
Primary contact: Ruth Downes, Phone +61 418 250 197, E-mail ruthdownes@ozemail.com.au
Secondary contact: Geoff Webster – Tour Manager, Phone +61 418 295 855, E-mail geoffwebster@ozemail.com.au
Acknowledgement: Toured by Manly Art Gallery & Museum



Brazzare Bra wires, hooks strainers, mesh and clips


Caffeinated Used coffee pods, neoprene