Saturday, March 16, 2013

Saved From My Style Slump! - IN PIECES by Dean West & Nathan Sawaya

Streetview of the Mulberry Exhibit Space

For the last month or so, fashion started seeming frighteningly less glamourous. With the onslaught of style mavens competing (with each other and the designers presenting collections) for the spotlight at Fashion Week... to a number of gimmicky but less-than-rousing runway shows... to the recent cancellation of Fashion's Night Out, the excitement of the fashion world was being replaced by a slowly saturating boredom. I was searching to smile at something "new" or at least a bit "different" than ombre hair, colorblocked frocks and neon statement accessories. Friday afternoon, I stopped by Openhouse Gallery's exhibit space to have a look at the IN PIECES exhibit. The subtle element of style and individuality injected into the collaboration of photography and mixed media was a certain cure for my style slump. 

"Umbrella" by Dean West for In Pieces (2012), Chromogenic Print on Kodak Endura (43in x 57in) [image credit:]

Nathan Sawaya's umbrella made of Legos comes through in Dean West's photograph of a man wearing a trench in the rain. Using a childhood staple, Sawaya crafts a variety of objects from Legos, which become integrated into West’s editorial photographs. The exhibition, appropriately named IN PIECES, references the idea of constructed items--an umbrella, a pair of flip-flops, a dress--and a deconstruction of the photograph to its many additive elements. 

"Dress" by Nathan Sawaya for In Pieces (2012), Made from legos (54in x 34in x 44in)

The installation of "Dress" contains 6,000+ legos and is rather heavy--so weighty that the woman in the photograph isn't able to wear the actual piece! A fabric dress was used for the photograph; the lego version was crafted based on the folds and movement of the fabric dress and digitally inserted in the photo.

"Dress" by Dean West for In Pieces (2012), Chromogenic Print on Kodak Endura (43in x 59.5in) [image credit:]

Through scenes of traditional Americana, the series visually explores concepts of culture and identity. West's photographs of minimalist scenery embrace isolation and accentuate each individual's distinctive style and lofty expression. The images force its audience to view fashion as it is--a refection of the wearer without overthought. After the recent parades of precisely curated clothing choices, I appreciated both the sincerity of West and Sawaya's art and the complexity of the effort to construct them. The exhibit will be displayed at Openhouse, 201 Mulberry St., until March 17th. To view the entire collection online, click here.
View of the gallery space

"Flip Flop" by Nathan Sawaya for In Pieces (2012), Made from legos (4in x 14in x 10in)


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  3. Replies
    1. Isn't it though? It was nice to go near the end of the exhibit this time--less of a crowd and space to enjoy the artwork :)


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