December 10, 2013
Wearable Art on Display at Core Collection Runway Show
: Violetta Rulova. Photo by Mark Bocek.
: Elizabeth Faragher with instructor Dawn Cerny. Photo by Mark Bocek.
: Khianna Hanson. Photo by Mark Bocek.
: Markie Mickelson. Photo by Mark Bocek.
: Gown by freshman Gabrielle Amechazurra. Photo by Mark Bocek.
: Violetta Rulova. Photo by Mark Bocek.
High concept meets high fashion in Cornish class project runway show, Core Collection.
The Cornish Playhouse at Seattle Center is the new site for what has become a tradition, the art department’s Core Studio Concepts class runway show, Core Collection. Outrageous wearable art is the product on display, a wild visual treat that never fails to be wildly popular. If it can be “worn” by an artist, it will be on the runway — headdresses, gowns, wrappings, leggings, masks, prostheses and more — all crafted of the most unlikely materials. The madness, or perhaps sanity, is on one day only, Thursday, December 12, at 6:30 p.m. The event is free of charge.
It’s all tremendous fun for the freshmen artists involved, but the purpose of the show is serious. Core Studio Concepts addresses student development, as adjunct faculty member Dawn Cerny says, “in research, materials and performative attitude.” The goal is to stretch students’ notions of how art is made and what its purpose can be. Cerny teaches one of three sections of the course, which was developed by assistant professor Ruth Tomlinson over five years ago. Cerny, by the way, is an alumna of Cornish, who received her M.F.A. from Bard College’s Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts.
A visit to the class in one of the large sixth-floor studios found the students working hard on their costumes qua sculptures qua prostheses with two days to go before opening. A small sampling follows.
Elizabeth Faragher was working over her wearable artwork with her teacher, Cerny, a mourning costume. It’s a kind of a black tube with a industrial foam tree design on its front, a “dying tree” as she calls it. It comes with a horned cap. Faragher had done research in how various cultures dress for mourning. Cerny challenged her to use materials from her job, which is at a shoe store. Faragher has used shoe trees foam inserts and packing paper, among other materials. Her piece comments on the death of nature at the hands of the industrial world. She is a graduate of Bethel High School.
On the next table, Khianna Hanson was working on a piece with the themes of masculinity versus femininity and the over-sexualization of society. Her piece is constructed of a motorcycle helmet and horns, which are draped with “entrails” and twisted lingerie. Hanson attended International Community School in Kirkland, Wash.
Across the way was Markie Mickelson from Spokane’s Lewis and Clark High School. Her piece is a pair of soft, black, tear-drop-shaped leggings. For her, they represent the gentleness and quiet of the house. The black Mickelson calls a “quiet color.”
Adjacent was Violetta Rulova a freshman art student who is from the Ukraine, but who lived mostly in Russia. She came to the U.S. at 9 years of age, and attended Cascade High School in Everett. Rulova as building a kind of suit of armor, whose message is intended as a response to what she called our “rape culture, where rape is justified.” It featured a kind of sash in aluminum with the legend punched out “What was the victim wearing?” The piece is in three parts, the sash, a breastplate and a tiara. The tiara was quite complex, with sheet metal sculptures made of aluminum, copper and brass, including flowers, which represent ideas. A poppy, for example, is “for rembrance,” in this case to remember victims of sexual abuse. Wire letters crossed the front of the tiara spelling out “My body is mine.”
These works and many, many more will be carried on the runway at the Cornish Playhouse. The Playhouse has only recently become part of the College’s campus, and there is a good deal of excitement about running Core Collection in the new space.
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