All My Clothes
lowercase, order and “All My Clothes” by Alicia Cortney Eggert at Valentine’s
Currently in Valentine’s (232 SW Ankeny ), Alicia Cortney Eggert has on display all of her clothes. Her exhibition, “All My Clothes” is color pencil drawings of each garment she owns clothes-pinned to lines stretching across one wall, and on the other, a human silhouette collaged of garment tags, and the twisted and knotted conglomeration, the haphazard soft sculpture of the items of clothing themselves that if you squint looks like a map of a country you’ve never visited.
If this exhibition owes a huge debt to Duchamp and the readymade, if it owes a debt to David Ireland’s collections of the everyday, it also has a contemporary PDX ring to it with overtones of DIY, the personal zine, (zine as glorified journal, that says my life is as rich fodder for narrative, for art as anything else, and I won’t do much to dress it up, just present as is), the lowercase. Lowercase as it’s applied to contemporary experimental improvised music is held up in opposition to Statement-making in music. Lowercasers are collaborative not competitive, they value quietude, subtlety, nuance. There are no saxophone solos in lowercase music. (It should be said that in the interests of collaboration and non-competition, when no one is stepping forward to make a statement, sometimes nothing is said at all.)
In visual art, Brad Adkins (&heart;) is lowercase, but with an uppercase “C” thrown in for Conceptual, and Chandra Bocci is magically and paradoxically lowercase with a heroic impulse, her humble materials transformed into grand, riveting sculptures and installations.
“All My Clothes” brings to mind both Chris Buckingham’s “Talking it Through” exhibition in the Basil Hallward Gallery of his mother’s collection of coffee mugs (and her recollections about same) and the recent Red 76 project Ghosttown with its Clothing Exchange, for which anyone could bring in an item of clothing, write a little note about it on a hang-tag, and exchange it for some one else’s storied garment or accessory.
But it strikes us that “All My Clothes” is more about order than object, or more about the impulse toward order (or control) that has inspired a million and one art pieces than a consideration of clothing. What we like about “All My Clothes” is the visual counterpoint offered by the orderly hanging of the meticulous little drawings facing off the chaotic mass of the clothes themselves. It feels like a very familiar act of teasing (a somewhat arbitrary) order from chaos…like getting dressed every morning in a way that doesn’t make you look as if you’d crawled from the hamper. What we love about “All My Clothes” is the wall tag that says, yes, this actually does represent every last item of the artist’s clothing and that she’s borrowing clothes from friends for the duration of the show. That’s our kind of integrity.
Eggert is also a main player with Gary Wiseman in the multi-disciplinary presenting group Kitchen Sink.