The Stuff of Akrewed Memories
By Tom Wachunas
“A house is just a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff.” - George Carlin
EXHIBIT: From The House of Hoard: A Collector’s Collection of Hoard Couture, work by Judi Krew at Translations Art Gallery, 331 Cleveland Avenue NW, downtown Canton, THROUGH APRIL 26. Gallery open Wed. – Sat. Noon to 5 p.m.
Assembled assorted appurtences of artistic attire. A bodacious bric-a-brac boutique. A curious collector’s colloquium on cheap chic. A disambiguation of dressy detritus. An elaborate exposition of eccentric entities. A fanciful flurry of floordrobes. A goofy gamut of glad rags.
Apparently, this show has awakened the word hunter/gatherer in me. It’s an appropriate enough pursuit when considering the content and presentation of Judi Krew’s Hoard Couture.
With this exhibit, she showcases her ongoing line of sculpted dresses. It’s a sprawling pastiche of myriad odds and ends constructed to look like whacky pop diva gowns from another dimension (eat your hearts out Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj, Ke$ha, Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, et al.). But that’s a somewhat superficial impression. So don’t make the mistake of neglecting to read Krew’s statement as well as the title documents that accompany each work.
You might call these objects the evolved culmination of an error in judgment - what she calls in her statement “…a great idea gone totally wrong.” Once upon a time, Krew determined a protocol for preserving personal memories by making dresses from all manner of well-organized and stored ingredients. So she insists she’s not a “hoarder” in the pathological sense of the word. Understandable enough. Call her, then, an avid gatherer of stuff with which she makes very funky armor against forgetting. She planned to put her creations on hangers. However, the formal demands in manifesting her idea presented unforeseen problems to be solved. Krew needed to be not just an inventive clothier, but a structural engineer as well. The dresses far outgrew closet storage, blossoming into full-fledged freestanding sculptures. And they lived heftily ever after.
A host of heady hilarities. Judi-cious jumbles of jocular junk. Lavish lumps of levity. A marvelous marrying of materials. A pretty profusion of processed petticoats. A riotous raiment roundup.
Humorous word-play is a significant element in Krew’s descriptions. One dress laden with animal bones and fur is marked, “They used to say I was nothing but skin and bones.” Another made of matchbooks, “This dress could be really hot if it were not so striking.” And another - a second version of a wedding gown made from plastic Wonder Bread wrappers and which melted in an unprotected gallery window – reads, “She rises again…it was the yeast I could do.”
Beyond the sheer spectacle of meticulously composed color schemes, engaging pattern dynamics and entertaining tactile ornamentation, these works are intriguing celebrations of the power of physical matter to evoke the intangible. Ordinary consumerist tchotchkes take on a vibrant life of their own and become extraordinary totems of remembrance – what Krew likens to “…personal encyclopedias or scrapbooks.”
Snappy samplings of surreal styles. A treasure trove of tantalizing textures. A vantage point on variform vanities. Wondrous wads of whimsicality. A zenith of zany Zeitgeist.