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.

Behind the visually striking, cleverly ironic and seemingly effortlessly constructed objects ... lies a wealth of ideas, references, skills and commentary.

Prof. Amanda Lawson.

Read Opening Remarks in full here


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


The exhibition is coming next to Sydney and online

8 – 17 October, 2021

Sydney Craft Week Online

Look here

11 – 19 December, 2021

‘Transformation – Art in the Recycle’ Group Exhibition

Palm House, Royal Botanical Gardens, Sydney.

View all the exhibition tour dates here


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.