Personal Adornment Day 2008: Reflection Revisited

This year marked Bloomsburg University’s fourth annual Personal Adornment Day and Makeup Extravaganza. The show is based around the idea of using materials in innovative ways to adorn the human body. Makeup is used to supplement these designs, and to create a holistic look for the model displaying the work. Materials ranged from silk charmuse to battery operated lights, and proved to make the show more and more interesting with every pass down the runway.

While each of the twenty-four artists involved were inventive and interesting in their own way, in my opinion, several stood out. Artist Rachel Fenner created a piece made from fabric, sharpie marker, and thread, which proved to be anything but ordinary. This somewhat dark piece was enhanced by the dramatic make-up done by Heather Rhoades, and the atypical presentation, done by model Katelyn Mallon. Fenner’s eerie depiction seemed to reflect on the audience, who became quite uncomfortable in the model’s presence.

Another artist, art history major Allyson Hileman, also contributed to the show, creating two designs made from hand-dyed cotton and silk, thread, stitch dissolve, yarn, and coiling.   Modeled by Jackey Anstine and Caitlin Siggins, Hileman’s work was based on the idea of the peacock, and was said to reference the aesthetics movement, perhaps based on James McNeill Whistler’s peacock room for the Frederick Leyland house. Hileman also noted that the peacock could represent the ideas of transition and coming of age, but that the viewer could decide for themselves what the work meant to them. Her first look included a woven corset in rich purple and gold, accompanied by a long skirt overflowing with luminously colored shreds of fabric. The second look included thread-worn feathers, seemingly falling from the models top. The looks were enhanced by the swirling make-up design in blues and purples that adorned the model’s faces, done by makeup artist Matthew Bayer.

Several other prominent artists included Gary Wetzel, Ira Jones, and Shauna Thomas. Wetzel’s work comprised of cloth, wire, and PVC pipe, was meant to “put death uncomfortably close to the viewer,” and as the work resembled an incredibly tall grim reaper-like character, it seems plausible to say that his work was successful. Jones’ work, modeled by Jessica Green, was made from mild steel, and was entitled Bustable Woman in Gown, while Thomas’ work was made from hand dyed, painted and printed cotton and silk, thread, and beads, and truly seemed to blend with the earth and its natural beauty.

The event was held in Haas Gallery on Thursday, April 10, 2008, and was hosted by the Art and Art History department and the Communications Studies and Theatre Arts department. Judging the work was visiting artist Erica Spitzer Rasmussen. After the event, a cookout was held behind Haas Gallery, and awards were presented. Winners included Ira Jones for best avant-garde piece, Shauna Thomas for best in show, and Heather Rhoades for best makeup.

Carrie Krohn

 

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