Ryerson Artspace | ‘Unstitching’ by Clea Christakos-Gee & Fehn Foss
Exhibition Run: Thursday, February 8th, 201 – Sunday, February 25th, 2018“One afternoon, after finishing a cup of coffee in her living room, Greta discovered how to unstitch herself. Her clothes, skin, and hair fell from her like the peeled rind of a fruit, and her true body stepped out.”
In Unstitching, two unique bodies of work are brought together to engage in a dialogue with one another: the show’s title is inspired by a short story written by Camilla Grudova. The story’s playful and slightly urgent tone is a magical-realist allegory for the emancipation of true womanhood and uses strong imagery of crafting and sewing machines in relation to gender performance. Similarly, this exhibition examines the performative nature of gender – specifically around the donning of a negligee – and the traditional role that embroidery has as woman’s work and not fine art.
The exhibition includes images from Clea Christakos-Gee’s The Realm of the Negligee series, which explores the performative nature of femininity in regards to the negligee and works from fehn foss’s series Memory Craft, which look into the impact automated embroidering technology has on the handmade, traditionally female craft of embroidery. Together, they have created a collection of artefacts that interrupt the precious nature of the negligee and the unattainable, elevated ideals of femininity by interfering with the garments using an automatic sewing machine. These collaborative pieces add an element of play and interruption to the societal structures that maintain such an oppressive hold on gender performance, gender roles, and how we perceive objects because of them.
This project invites the viewer to reconsider the ways in which they view gender performance as well as the efficacy of technology in regards to a handmade craft. With a sense of play, the artists seek to engage their viewers in the process of tackling sexist and rigid gendered social practices.
A recent graduate from Ryerson University’s Image Arts program, fehn foss is an image maker whose practice focuses on investigating the unique ways in which hegemonic power structures erect and maintain their control.
Clea Christakos-Gee is a Toronto based artist currently completing her BFA in Photography Studies at Ryerson University. Her practice is grounded in analog photography and collage with a significant focus on portraiture. She often considers the representation of gender, the body, and personal memory.