Fashionistas Fight Back!

“Fashionistas Fight Back!” Curated by Shana Nys Dambrot, October 3, 2015 –November 14, 2015

Orange County Center for Contemporary Art: 117 N Sycamore St, Santa Ana, California 92701

I was in the ICU during the Opening Reception. I was so happy to make it to two of the Performance Art Night Receptions as well as the closing. I was able to air out my radiation bald spot at “Fashionistas Fight Back!” LA Times wrote a beautiful article on this exhibition, featuring an image of my Silk creation, Shana Nys Dambrot, is the best curator ever!!!

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Art and fashion are like air-kissing cousins, so it was not surprising when the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art launched its “Fashionistas Fight Back” exhibit last month.

What is surprising is how well the two really complement each other to create something entirely new. For a last-chance look at the exhibit, visit before it closes on Nov. 14. Details are at occca.org.

In combining art and fashion, the “Fashionistas” show is more than the sum of its parts. Describing the event, art writer Robert Mintz called out the power of the combination.

“Fashion is a seductive powerhouse in contemporary culture, worthy of celebration and critique,” he wrote. “Fashion is a weapon — against boredom, the prosaic and the humdrum.”

The Santa Ana art venue is known for its risk-taking exhibits that carefully weave multiple forms of art, from uncensored performances to dance to orchestral arrangements.

“I think OCCCA has definitely gotten some attention through the different exhibits, and one of the things I do like that they’re doing is a multi-platform engagement,” said gallery artist Jane Szabo, who also volunteers on the publicity committee.

Szabo is based in Los Angeles but fell in love with the gallery and its mission, so she drives out to support various activities.

“I was so impressed with just that space and the quality and the caliber of the exhibitions I was seeing that I wanted to get involved,” she said. “So I joined as a member maybe a year and a half ago. And it is a labor of love, with the emphasis on labor. We’re all volunteer run. It’s a nice group of people.”

Exhibiting artist Lucia Ferreira-Litowtschenko is featuring her surreal photography for the first time at the gallery. Originally from Uruguay, she also said she likes the feel of the gallery.

“I was surprised. Santa Ana in general has a very vibrant art community. They are creating a conversation,” she said. “I saw the gallery and I just love the space because I found that what they were showing really spoke to me. And the way they were displaying the art was a little different from other galleries.”

The “Fashionistas” exhibit was juried by Shana Nys Dambrot, an art critic, curator and author in L.A. The exhibit demonstrates a provocative, eclectic range of talented artists.

“Shana Nys Dambrot is a pretty renowned Los Angeles area writer,” Szabo said. “Her credibility helped bring in a broader pool of artists.”

For Ferreira-Litowtschenko, there was an immediate fit with the fashion theme. One of her magical realism photographs, called “The Keeper of Spring,” features a forlorn woman in a dress made from leaves and flowers.

“Fashion can also express other things, like who you are,” she said. “It’s not only about the fashion but your personality. There are so many different dialogues that fall into the fashion umbrella.”

For more on her art, visit lulight.com.

Szabo’s work at the exhibit involves creating actual dresses made out of odd objects — coffee filters, for example — and then photographing them. For details visit janeszabophotography.com.

“It’s recontextualizing the word fashion,” she said. “It’s opening it up to a different genre. It breaks some stereotypes. Fashion is something that a broader public can understand, and it can get them into the gallery. Then they can see different ways the art is made. It’s taking a convention and turning it on its head a little bit.”

What she most likes about OCCCA is its role in helping new audiences find art.

“They get huge crowds at these openings, and they’re young people and mixed ethnic groups and mixed ages,” she said. “And I think that’s kind of a unique experience, because I go to a lot of art openings. I watch them, and they come in and they look at the work. And if you get that to happen, then I think we’ve done our job.”

Other artists include Isabella Kelly-Ramirez, Leslie Magdaleno, Trevor Messersmith, Kurt Weston and many others.

Next up at the gallery will be “Generations: 40 Hues Between Black & White,” which will run from Dec. 5 to 19. It will examine the exodus of over 1 million Vietnamese people during the Vietnam conflict and the tremendous changes that resulted, including loss, displacement, sense of identity and new beginnings.

DAVID HANSEN is a writer and Laguna Beach resident. He can be reached at hansen.dave@gmail.com.

Copyright © 2016, Weekend

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Opening Receptions: Oct 3rd and November 7th, 6-10pm

DJ Yellow Black Bird will be spinning on Oct 3rd

Special Reception Dance Performances by:
EMBARK Dance Theatre

Juror: Shana Nys Dambrot


Fashion is a seductive powerhouse in contemporary culture, worthy of celebration and critique. Fashion is a weapon — against boredom, the prosaic, and the humdrum.

Featured Artists:

Stephen Anderson, Shula Arbel, Sue Arnold, Ingrid Aubry, Loretta Ayeroff, Jodi Bonassi, Bridget Bourgon, Leslie Brown, Donna Casey Aira, Jennifer Cawley, Chuka Chesney, Karen Clark, Dick Craig, Bibi Davidson, Ellen Davis, Eliza Day-Green, Sheri Determan, L. Aviva Diamond, Lucia Ferreira Litowtschenko, Rebecca Finley, Claire Fleury, Kathi Flood, Robert Gorman, Ellen Greene, Gina Herrera, Hannah Jenkinson, Amy Kaps, Lauren Kasmer, Colleen Kelly, Isabella Kelly-Ramirez, Leslie Lanxinger, Gudrun Latten, Stevie Love, Leslie Magdaleno, Susan Melly, Trevor Messersmith, Leon Mostovoy, Shaun Muscolo, Diana N’Diaye, Ashleigh Norman, Sarah Palmeri, Janet Pedersen, Saraswati Petrovic, Donnal Poppe, Nataša Prosenc Stearns Prosenc Stearns, Osceola Refetoff, Robin Repp, Paul Roustan, Ellen Schinderman, Carl Shubs, Elaine Sigwald, Marischa Slusarski & Britt Ehringer in collaboration with NAMAAK Collective, Christian Smith, Sergei Sviatchenko, Jane Szabo, Nancy Tabeling, Annie Terrazzo, Adam Tramantano, Scott Trimble, Marjan Vayghan, Petert Walker, Bob Weil, Tracey Weiss, Kurt Weston, Victor Wilde, Carolyn Yarnell, Katayoon Zandvakili

With a joie de vivre that is irrepressible, fashionistas fight back against mediocrity, conventional thinking, and bad taste. The catwalk is a platform with only one plank: freedom of self-expression. “Joy wants eternity,” as Nietzsche wrote. To see modernity in the ruffle of a dress is a form of clairvoyance. The drama in fashion’s “street theater” inspires designers, photographers, musicians and artists of all kinds, to reach new heights of style. Think Marina Abramovic who now has a gig with Givenchy. And Prada is synonymous with cerebral interventions into the world of art. Recent retrospectives of major designers signal deeper appreciation of their creativity. In the sumptuous, sensual Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity (2013) at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Manet is quoted: “The latest fashion is absolutely necessary for a painting. It’s what matters most.” The Impressionists captured the novelty of fashion’s fleeting allure so exquisitely it makes one ache for the Paris of the past. Such is fashion’s power, that it can immortalize a time and place.

The juror for Fashionistas Fight Back! will select works of painting, photography, video, sculpture, craft — and the dressmaker’s art. Even when displayed on a rigid dressmaker’s form, a gown can evoke the impossibly beautiful wearer. But sometimes avant-garde designers undermine our expectations by using unusual or re-cycled materials. And who can forget Bjork arriving at the Academy Awards dressed as — was that a swan? Or Rodarte’s wearable sculpture with bulges reminiscent of the Willendorf fertility idol.

Despite the bellicosity of the term “fashionistas,” it fits perfectly: fashion revolutionaries living in the urban jungle, armed with attitude. But sometimes reality pops the bubble: AIDS, anorexia, animal pelts versus faux fur, dangerous conditions for underpaid workers, pressure from “fast fashion” with styles see-sawing between the normal and the weird, disposable clothes piling up in landfills, the perils of “heroin chic,” and the tilt toward the pornographic in fashion advertising, a far cry from the classic photography of Vogue in the 1950s.

Shana Nys Dambrot is an art critic, curator, and author based in Los Angeles. She is currently LA Editor for Whitehot Magazine, Arts Editor for Vs. Magazine, Contributing Editor to Art Ltd., and a contributor to the LA Weekly, Flaunt, Huffington Post, Montage, Desert Magazine, and KCET’s Artbound. She studied Art History at Vassar College, curates one or two exhibitions a year, and speaks in public with alarming frequency. An account of her activities is sometimes updated at sndx.net.

www.occca.org

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Orange County Center for Contemporary Art (OCCCA.org)ShanaCUratedMyArt 

Fashionistas Fight Back!

Juror: Shana Nys Dambrot

Exhibition Dates: October 3 – November 14, 2015

Opening Reception: October 3rd, 6-10pm
Special Reception Dance Performances by: EMBARK Dance Theatre
DJ Yellow Blackbird will be spinning.

Sunday October 25th at 1:00pm – 3:00pm
Lauren Kasmer invites you to a special event at “Fashionistas Fight Back” Exhibition, an afternoon of food, music and art.

Firebird is a mixed media video art installation inspired by a Slavic myth featuring Maryushka and Kaschei as well as varied American legends of the Hummingbird. The installation elements include a video filmed in native gardens and reserves, composed sound, digitally printed textiles with imagery from said environments applied to unique clothing and heritage furnishings, a limited edition book, and aromatics. Photographic wearables, live music, a mixtape, storytelling and readings, cookies and milk are additions to the artwork during the live event.

Sweets by Yukari Kajihara

Lauren Kasmer retells Firebird tales and reads inspired poetry by Clayton Bonura

Live Music and Mix tape by Erin Schroettinger

Local students have been invited to ‘model’ the Firebird Wardrobe from Santa Ana College and Cal State University Fullerton

Second Reception November 7th, 6-10pm
Special Reception Dance Performances by: EMBARK Dance Theatre

November 13-14, 8pm. The Assembly Dance presents ‘IV.’
In ‘IV,’ the Roman numeral for four, four emerging LA/OC choreographers have zeroed in on four arbitrary elements–concrete, light, wood, and mirror–illuminating and carving into mundane aspects of the world we live in and how we move through it.

See contemporary dance work by Delyer Anderson, Christopher Bordenave, Kalynn Marin, and Jobel Medina, tied into an evening-length event by the directors and dancers of The Assembly. Incorporated into the performance will be a large-scale set piece by past Assembly dancer and engineer Isaac Bekker, costumes by resident designer Hannah Jenkinson, and original score by NYC-based sound designer Luke Folger.

General Admission – $20
Students – $15

Seating will be available on a first-come, first-seved basis. All tickets include wine or beer and other refreshments at our event.

Pickup artwork: Sunday November 15th Noon-5pm

Thursday Nov 19th 12-5, Friday Nov 20th 12-5

Isabella Kelly-Ramirez, Alice (2015), Collage on Paper, 11″ x 14″

Featured Artists:

Stephen Anderson, Shula Arbel, Sue Arnold, Ingrid Aubry, Loretta Ayeroff, Jodi Bonassi, Bridget Bourgon, Leslie Brown, Donna Casey Aira, Jennifer Cawley, Chuka Chesney, Karen Clark, Dick Craig, Bibi Davidson, Ellen Davis, Eliza Day-Green, Sheri Determan, L. Aviva Diamond, Lucia Ferreira Litowtschenko, Rebecca Finley, Claire Fleury, Kathi Flood, Robert Gorman, Ellen Greene, Gina Herrera, Hannah Jenkinson, Amy Kaps, Lauren Kasmer, Colleen Kelly, Isabella Kelly-Ramirez, Leslie Lanxinger, Gudrun Latten, Stevie Love, Leslie Magdaleno, Susan Melly, Trevor Messersmith, Leon Mostovoy, Shaun Muscolo, Diana N’Diaye, Ashleigh Norman, Sarah Palmeri, Janet Pedersen, Saraswati Petrovic, Donnal Poppe, Nataša Prosenc Stearns, Osceola Refetoff, Robin Repp, Paul Roustan, Ellen Schinderman, Carl Shubs, Elaine Sigwald, Marischa Slusarski & Britt Ehringer in collaboration with NAMAAK Collective, Christian Smith, Sergei Sviatchenko, Jane Szabo, Nancy Tabeling, Annie Terrazzo, Adam Tramantano, Scott Trimble, Marjan Vayghan, Petert Walker, Bob Weil, Tracey Weiss, Kurt Weston, Victor Wilde, Carolyn Yarnell, Katayoon Zandvakili

PDF of selected work


Leslie Magdaleno, Exquisite Corpse (2015), Mixed Media, 20″ x 16″

Fashion is a seductive powerhouse in contemporary culture, worthy of celebration and critique. Fashion is a weapon — against boredom, the prosaic, and the humdrum.

With a joie de vivre that is irrepressible, fashionistas fight back against mediocrity, conventional thinking, and bad taste. The catwalk is a platform with only one plank: freedom of self-expression. “Joy wants eternity,” as Nietzsche wrote. To see modernity in the ruffle of a dress is a form of clairvoyance. The drama in fashion’s “street theater” inspires designers, photographers, musicians and artists of all kinds, to reach new heights of style. Think Marina Abramovic who now has a gig with Givenchy. And Prada is synonymous with cerebral interventions into the world of art. Recent retrospectives of major designers signal deeper appreciation of their creativity. In the sumptuous, sensual Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity (2013) at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Manet is quoted: “The latest fashion is absolutely necessary for a painting. It’s what matters most.” The Impressionists captured the novelty of fashion’s fleeting allure so exquisitely it makes one ache for the Paris of the past. Such is fashion’s power, that it can immortalize a time and place.

The juror for Fashionistas Fight Back! will select works of painting, photography, video, sculpture, craft — and the dressmaker’s art. Even when displayed on a rigid dressmaker’s form, a gown can evoke the impossibly beautiful wearer. But sometimes avant-garde designers undermine our expectations by using unusual or re-cycled materials. And who can forget Bjork arriving at the Academy Awards dressed as — was that a swan? Or Rodarte’s wearable sculpture with bulges reminiscent of the Willendorf fertility idol.

Despite the bellicosity of the term “fashionistas,” it fits perfectly: fashion revolutionaries living in the urban jungle, armed with attitude. But sometimes reality pops the bubble: AIDS, anorexia, animal pelts versus faux fur, dangerous conditions for underpaid workers, pressure from “fast fashion” with styles see-sawing between the normal and the weird, disposable clothes piling up in landfills, the perils of “heroin chic,” and the tilt toward the pornographic in fashion advertising, a far cry from the classic photography of Vogue in the 1950s.

Graphic Design by Dali Polivka
Written by Rob Mintz

Trevor Messersmith, Glove (2011), Photography, 12″ x 10″

Shana Nys Dambrot is an art critic, curator, and author based in Los Angeles. She is currently LA Editor for Whitehot Magazine, Arts Editor for Vs. Magazine, Contributing Editor to Art Ltd., and a contributor to the LA Weekly, Flaunt, Huffington Post, Montage, Desert Magazine, and KCET’s Artbound. She studied Art History at Vassar College, curates one or two exhibitions a year, and speaks in public with alarming frequency. An account of her activities is sometimes updated at sndx.net.


Marischa Slusarski & Britt Ehringer in collaboration with NAMAAK Collective,
Empty Words (2015), Unique Digital Print, 40.5″ x 72″

Press Mentions:

The Assembly Presents It’s Latest Contemporary Dance Assemblage, 
OC Weekly, By Scott Feinblatt, November 13, 2015

Santa Ana Art Stays Fashionably Progressive,
Los Angeles Times, by David Hansen. Nov 8, 2015

Best Upcoming Art Exhibits In OC This Fall, 
CBS Los Angeles, By Steven Bryan, September 14, 2015

 

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