SHIFT: Ecologies of Fashion, Form + Textile
Medrie MacPhee, Second Thoughts, 2022, oil and mixed media on canvas. Courtesy of the artist and Stellar Art.

SHIFT: Ecologies of Fashion, Form + Textile

Griffin Art Projects, North Vancouver, BC - Sep 16 - Dec 10

by Michael Turner

Fashion and visual art have always enjoyed a complementary relationship. Those who came up punk in the late 1970s understand the link between the clothing designs of Vivienne Westwood and the paintings of Jörg Immendorff. But punk was more a doer’s movement than a thinker’s, predicated more on attitude than on ideas. How we think about fashion and visual art today requires new variables, not just kicking against the proverbial pricks. Curator Lisa Baldissera is doing that work, proposing “forms for an emancipating futurity, where fashion, ecology and community converge.”

Featuring sculpture, painting, photography and performance by artists past (Meret Oppenheim) and present (Brian Jungen), SHIFT begins at the level of language, with Baldissera exchanging tired words like “relationship” for progressive descriptors like “intersection,” as she does when tracing fashion back from something worn or swung to its material source, as textile, but also to its interactions in the natural and spiritual world. Same too when addressing macro structures in light of the pandemic and an elevated climate crisis: “SHIFT considers the ways in which power, colonialism and consumerism are expressed within fashion, both within the lives of individuals and communities, and in the fashion world as a globalized entity.”

As with past Griffin exhibitions, SHIFT features a symposium and an artist-in-residence, Jaewoo Kang, a graduate of SFU’s School for the Contemporary Arts Film Program. Also included in the exhibition are works by China Adams, Jason Dodge, Olaf Holzapfel, Annette Kelm, Christiane Lohr, Medrie MacPhee, Manuel Mathieu, Wolfgang Tillmans and Janet Werner.

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