Having launched already in Sydney, Australia in 2010, Emerald Fitzgerald the creative director of Emerald Couture, gathered together her group of artists and designer friends, and added some NYC artists into the mix for her NYC Fashion Week 2011 debut, held at ” The Hole“, a chic large gallery space on Bowery Street, where Emily did her magic in the Big Apple bringing together amazing designers with artists in a stunning collaboration.
Emerald Couture collaborates with artists, by printing their art-work onto fabric and make limited edition clothing. Emerald Couture‘s clothing is not about mass consumerism; it is the product of an artist and an artisan, not intended for landfill, to be replaced next season with other styles produced in production runs of 100,000. Therefore the ultimate luxury, is to wear high-end specialty items.
Lisa Thom, who has been working closely with Emily for a number of years, is the head designer of the Emerald Couture team. She holds a doctorate in French literature from Columbia University, where she wrote about Proust’s descriptions of art and photography.
Lisa worked closely with the featured artists Evan Gruzis ( whose exhibition Exotic Beta is on view at The Hole from Sept 10th – Oct 22nd, 2011.) and visual artist John Grande both of whom Emerald Fitzgerald selected because she could see their artworks would translate superbly onto fabrics.
Special guest Australian designer Phoenix Keating recently created garments which were recently picked up by Lady Gaga for her world tour. For the NYC show Keating designed pieces with Andéol, a new Australian label based on the workings of heavy print forms and extraordinary print quality.
Like the launch in Sydney last year the Emerald Couture show was bound to be filled with stunning colourful yet quirky eclectic pieces and the launch in New York City didn’t disappoint. Given that New York fashion tends to be slightly more tailored and monochromatic, to have Emerald Couture showcase a bright, colour filled show was a very exciting and truely a breathe of fresh air.
I love collaborations with artists. Their work presents constraints, as I have to choose how it will work best as a garment. With each new work, this process obliges me to consider a new way how to construct a garment, how best to present the two-dimensional image in the context of a three-dimensional work. In this respect, each garment is born of my interpretation of the image. Sometimes there is a philosophical aspect.
I work from associations. Evan Gruzis‘s paintings pop with intense color and contrast, in the manner of street art. A depiction of a palm tree in shadow against the sunset ( above) reminded me of images used by Casablanca Records, the cool vibe of 1970s Marrakech, and I decided to make the kaftan which the gorgeous May Andersen wore in the show.
I used fabric printed from several of John Grande’s paintings.
Polar depicts polar bears on ice and a sun-kissed model, against a sky blue and white backdrop. The fate of polar bears, global warming and consumerism distress me, inducing me to recycle, reuse, save, while trying to keep at bay the feeling of futility that individual effort, while the only way to effect change, feels at the same time like it is never enough.
Phoenix Keating is an aspiring and truly up and coming Sydney Fashion Designer. He recently had his runway debut off schedule at Sydney Fashion Week 2011. Having studied privately for 3 years, Phoenix now plans to show his design sensibility on the international fashion stage.
John Grande was born in1969 in Huntington Long Island. He attended the School Of Visual Arts in 1995 earning his BFA. After graduating Grande moved to NYC and worked as a professional C Printer at a photo lab in Tribeca.
Printing for High End Fashion, Music and, Fine Art photographers Miles Aldrich – Jack Pearson – Anne Liebovitz – Marc Baptiste – Giles Bensimon – Jerry Schatzberg to name a few.
This practice highly influenced his personal work allowing him to asses the work and study their compositions and visual techniques of creating a successful image. After working for several labs in 2002 and the sudden loss of his mother to Asbestos cancer, Grande realized that life is short, and fleeting deciding to leave the printing world to follow his dream and focus all of his energy into his painting practice.
Since that time Grande has exhibited in Solo and Group Shows throughout the world (New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Washington DC, Korea, Italy, India, Canada). He is currently exhibiting with Jim Kempner Fine Arts in New York. Grande is a photo-based artist who works in project form.
Using the technique of transferring ” photo realistic” style with paint into a visual dialogue constantly searching for different ways of solving contextual problems and ideas. His current work is about exploring “the Cultural Icon”.
Whether derived from pop – contemporary or retro culture – branding symbols – advertising logos – superheroes – phrases and art. Interweaving and, integrating them together transforming there original meanings while at the same time relying on there visual familiarity. With these works I was interested in building paintings that are derived out of today’s overwhelming multi media world.
Laughing, getting results and creating is my primary focus right now. I like luxury and want to define it in my own ways. I let the medium define the product and then mark it with originality and relevance.
My life, up to now (just now) essentially has been a search for how to best express myself. The active use and development of creative faculty is almost a sort of advancement of self-knowlege and opens neglected parts of the Psyche. You may have known me in a past life, but he is dead now.
I don’t know how to describe my style as anything other than a deep intuition and a very personal sense of style coupled with self-education and hard work. With a bit of practice I can apply my skills to interiors, architectural design / fabrication and any sort of interdisciplinary collaboration. I have designs for my cafe concept, my menswear shop, bicycles and furniture to name a few. I have the resources for these things too, just need the right project / partner.
The converse of this statement is true today, even if you are well tailored and discrete simply because it is an extraordinary thing now. I’m not into flamboyance and excessive garishness, I get enough attention being subtle. I want to speak through my designs … not loudly.
Fashion design is easier than I ever thought it was.
Evan Gruzis, born 1979 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is living and working in New York, USA. Gruzis has finished his MFA in Combined Media at Hunter College, New York, in December 2008.
His works were also included in numerous group shows such as ‘Black Hole’, an exhibition at Kunsthalle Andratx, Mallorca, curated by Dr. Friederike Nymphius, ‘Conceptual Figure’ at Deitch Projects; New York and ‘Mail Order Monsters’ at Max Wigram Gallery, London, UK.
He has had solo exhibitions at Deitch Projects (2008), DUVE Berlin (2008, 2010), Andreas Melas Presents in Athens (2010) and SAKS Gallery, Geneva (2011). He has been in group shows at The Swiss Institute, NYC; Max Wigram, London; The Deste Foundation, Athens; The Garage Center for Contemporary Art, Moscow; MACRO Museum, Rome; and many other notable institutions. \
His work is in the collection of Dakis Joannou, the Whitney Museum of American Art, The Hort Family Collection, Artist Pension Trust, David Zwirner collection, and many other notable private collections.
Evan Gruzis‘s exhibit Exotic Beta at The Hole, from which Emerald couture chose some works to print fabric, features ink paintings, sculpture, video and installation, including a collaborative installation with renowned designer Rafael de Cardenas.
Kathy Grayson defines his new show as exotic like a tattoo of a Japanese character, but who’s meaning is unknown to the bearer. His collaborative sculpture with Rafael de Cardenas, for instance, refers to the “Imagination” scene in Flashdance but uses props to reference what Evan calls “New-Wave Faux-Ortientalism.”
These create a mysterious fantasy around the stripper in it, as she becomes distant in every way – spatially, temporally and culturally. Exoticism to the max!
Sexy dancing is also present in the video “Dancing Into Forever,” which is displayed in The Hole‘s “castle gallery.” In it, a clock flashes as raindrops fall on a window pane darkened by the night. From time to time, a reflection of a stripper’s shadow emerges and fades out, turning the spectator into a nervous voyeur. And yet he remains in front of the piece to contemplate her even though she barely appears. Perhaps exoticism is more of a state of mind in which one remains entranced by something that’s mysterious and suggested, but also out of reach.
Exotic Beta fuses a sense of the exotic with the language of market research to explore the way meaning is made and the relativity of “taste”: Exotic like a tattoo of a Japanese character the bearer of which doesn’t know the meaning, Beta like a corporation’s second re-launching of a product after market research and focus groups have masticated all the language to the point of flavorlessness.
Exotic Beta also refers to an alternative form of asset class in investment markets—like an art collector who starts buying baseball cards—adding extra relevance to the title.
Evan’s main goal is creating the potential for meaning amidst the post-apocalyptic landscape of empty signs. By using imagery that was once evocative and now is just a husk of a cultural signifier, Evan can foreground his real interest, which is the simple act of looking. His technique certainly suggests this as well.
With methodical and painstaking execution, Gruzis uses a magician’s bag of tricks to keep the ink and paper looking like anything but; the gestalt is a now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t pictoral modification meant to present the images both as authentic representations of the object and as hand-painted images that float between photography, airbrush and digital technology.
The centerpiece of this exhibition is the large triptych in the back of the main gallery, titled Stratatos. Featuring the silhouetted form of a skull, a Fender Stratocaster guitar and a metronome, this contemporary Vanitas presents our forever-teenaged culture’s “rebelliousness” in contemplation of it’s own ticking clock.
A droning un-programmed digital clock flashes 88:88 and other messages while a silhouetted figure slowly gyrates in front of a water-drenched plane. This next-generation video work uses generative software to randomize intersecting clips of video so it is an ever-changing intersection of visual information, never presenting the exact same image twice, like a live video mix.
A trio of other luminescent pieces, including the light-box work Connoisseurship, which juxtaposes the stereophile and the armchair pharmacologist, round out the dark side of the exhibition.
Back in the main gallery, Self-portrait as Self-portrait’s explosion of paint drips, balloons, cocktail paraphernalia, confetti and plastic fruit are arranged into an image of the artist. The result is a drawing-photo-painting hybrid, a mise en abyme that references Gruzis’s own body of work and creates a territory for image and object to meet.
In Geishas of Key West, 2009, a folding fan, ribbons, flowers and an illustration from Kurt Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions float atop an illusionistic ink painting of tile to form a concept of beauty straight out of a 1980s hair salon. Aesthetically these canvases call into question issues of taste and process and are absurd pseudo-paintings attempting to divorce the image from a single medium.
Another featured installation in Exotic Beta offers Evan’s “acid sketches”; painstaking recreations of hastily scribbled sketches made during a psychedelic experience. They relate in concept and palette to the work High Design, which frames splatter as the opposite of controlled designed form: acid wash, acid sketch, acid trip.
The selection of paintings continues with 16:9, featuring cinematic display proportions and purposeless graphic design that would be obscured in a 4:3 format “to fit your TV”.
Harakolada evokes the pineapple as the international symbol of hospitality and nods to Margaritaville with its pat tropical fantasy, while the tanto blade stabbed through it introduces lethality, beauty and craftsmanship; here is an inappropriate re-appropriation of samurai culture via violence and Zen. As Laurie Anderson asked: que es mas macho? Pineapple o knife?
Many works in this show feature superimposed text, both in painting and sculpture: the chromed, autobodied ANX, the pieces Green and Indigo are everything that color isn’t: text, black and white.
The sculpture, ZEN? (Helvetica, IKB), painted in International Klein Blue, is a distilled koan of challenging legibility, through which we can contemplate the void, the emptiness of “no selection”.
Many of the themes of this exhibition are activated in the collaborative installation with Rafael de Cardenas. This sculpture, inspired by a sequence in the movie Flashdance called “Imagination” (after the Laura Branigan song it features), encapsulates a strange and uniquely 1980s Orientalism.
The film’s dancer devolves from post-apocalyptic geisha to businesswoman to writhing freak-out by strobe, and Gruzis and De Cardenas have grown this moment into a massive frieze consisting of their own custom kimono, presented on a multi-tiered stage that has the presence of a futuristic art deco monument.
Gruzis has recently released a limited-edition book, Existential Crisis, published by Anteism, as well as a limited edition C-print and a silver gelatin print (both derived from the triptych Stratatos), produced by Signed And Numbered
Hole Gallery – 312 Bowery Street, NYC
Amidst the public hand-wringing over Jeffrey Deitch’s decision to close his much-beloved gallery Deitch Projects this past June was the underlying question few dared think about: what would happen to the matriarchal power coven that ran the show there and those less-than-market-friendly artists they had championed?
Thankfully into this unimaginable breach has stepped The Hole, a multi-purpose exhibition space founded by the former Deitch Projects directors, Kathy Grayson and Meghan Coleman.
A slick and savvy gallery premised on deviantly funky aesthetics with a delirious admixture of high-powered ambition and a commitment to downtown sensibilities, The Hole sort of launched over the summer with a show that celebrated the inherent beauty of not being quite ready–an unfinished space featuring unfinished works by a pantheon of today’s most “irascible” artists.
Now with its proverbial feet wet, The Hole is more than ready to deliver everything that New York was so damned worried about having lost. They’re continuing to produce the high-impact public art projects of Deitch, including the Wynwood Walls in Miami and the Bowery Murals here (with a new commission by Barry McGee).
They’ve landed a coup of a September gallery show, the debut of Forcefield co-founder Mat Brinkman; they’re launching a new imprint, Holey Books; and added a bookstore and café to the gallery. “The choice was to either follow Jeffrey out to L.A. or to continue to work with the many artists with whom I had developed relationships over the past eight years,” Grayson explained, “and once I started exploring the latter, I found there was this huge amount of community support that was very much in the spirit of what we were trying to do.”
But why name what is in all likelihood a blue-chip gallery after a particularly raucous gay club of yore? “Well, I loved the club, and I thought it would be great to name a gallery after a club,” Grayson says, “but it was also that everyone was talking about the hole that was left with Jeffrey’s departure, so I figured that’s what we were: The Hole
The new space opened on June 9, 2011
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Jewelry was from – 1974 Jewelry, Brevard and Nagicia by Tricia Kim. Bags were from Fleabags. Gift bags were offered by chirally correct natural Corrective Skincare. Models were from Major Models and Adam NYC. Music was performed by Seamonster and lead act BELL.