In an interview on WDET about the latest show at Hamtramcks Public Pool, participating artist and fashion designer Sarah Lapinski raised the question, “Why do we get dressed?” “Un-Dress Re-Dress” invited nine artists to “explore the possibilities of clothing,” and, from the first step inside the gallery door, it becomes clear that the resulting works are fascinating. When we consider clothing, objects that we wear every day to conceal or accentuate parts of our bodies or personalities, it is such a bold expression of ourselves. No matter how hard we try, we cannot escape the ideals that are placed upon us because of the clothing we choose to wear. The diverse and talented group of artists have seriously examined the many facets, meanings and purposes clothing can serve, resulting in an outstanding show that will transform our normal perceptions of the things we call clothes and fashion.
Immediately upon entering Public Pool, I was taken by the beautiful and delicate dress titled, “The American Dream” by Cristin Richard, it serves as the centerpiece for the show. Made of hog intestine, the paper-thin dress interrupts the space and demands immediate attention, making it seem incredibly strong and fragile at the same time. Walking around the piece there is an opening that reveals said dress to be a teepee containing some precious objects. Many of the pieces in the show, including this one, are not meant to be worn. However, artist Jessica Frelinghuysen’s pieces can only function when being utilized. Frelinghuysen’s “Paper Helmets” begins as flat screen prints that are meant to be cut out and assembled to “facilitate interactions, direct conversations and remedy side effects of modern living and strange behavior.” She uses humor and sensory deprivation to act as a survival kit for awkward social situations, something I could have benefited from more then once.
I simply do not have enough space to write about all of the inspired and thoughtful work in this show. From Kresge Fellow Mark Newport’s knit superhero suits to Lapinski’s critical investigation into what happens when a style no longer serves a purpose (possibly a nod to her past with “Wound Menswear”), it is by far worth a Saturday trip to Hamtramck. “Un-Dress Re-Dress” runs until Dec. 17, Public Pool s open on Saturdays from 1 to 6 p.m.