Beverly Semmes and Carwash Collective |”Body Double” | Samson Projects, Boston

19 March 201525 April 2015

Body Double pairs artist Beverly Semmes’ ceramic sculpture Sketchpot series with prototype fashions from the CarWash Collective.

CarWash Collective is collaboration between fashion designer Jennifer Minniti and artist Beverly Semmes. The Collective establishes a new politics of clothing with “take back the image” urgency. The Collective makes use of Semmes’ recent Feminist Responsibility Project drawings as its visual and conceptual source. The FRP defaces pornography; these original works are drawings rendered on top of various pornography magazines pages that Semmes censors and edits in order to refocus the original content. For the CarWash Collective, Minniti designs clothing that are made from fabric that Semmes has digitally printed with images of her drawings. The fashions combine Minniti’s engineered cuts and construction with the raw mark-making in Semmes’ magazine page edits. These clothes can become a doubling of the cover-up; first in the drawing over the nude pornographic image and then again when the clothing is worn. The full potential is filmic, complicated — and sexy.

The inspirations for this Minniti/Semmes project include the fashions of the French artist Sonia Delaunay who developed clothing out of her “orphism” paintings and politics, as well as the work of Varvara Stepanova and Lyubov Popova whose “production art” of the Russian Constructivist Movement combined social content and practicality in clothing designs for the masses.

Body Double has a sculptural dimension in Semmes enigmatic sculptural works titled Sketchpots. The ceramics complement the CarWash Collective fashions in palette, and in concept as neither dress nor pot behave according to expectations. Creating anti-ceramics—pots that defy the conventions of the vessel—Semmes builds on the paradoxical nature of her work, indulging in a sense of visceral, infantile pleasure, while denying the viewer’s fetishism of an ideal body.

Jennifer Minniti earned her Bachelor of Science in Fashion Design from Philadelphia University and Masters in Visual Studies from New York University. She has worked for Donna Karan, consulted on ethnographic textiles at the DeYoung Museum and served as Associate Dean of Undergraduate Design Studies and Assistant Chair of Fashion at the California College of the Arts. Minniti is the Chair of Pratt Institute’s Fashion Design Department since 2011.

Beverly Semmes has had over 50 solo exhibitions including an exhibition of new work at the Susan Inglett Gallery in Chelsea and Tang Museum at Skidmore College as well as two international solo exhibitions in Dublin, Ireland and Dusseldorf, Germany. She completed an MFA in sculpture from the Yale University of Art and currently teaches drawing and sculpture at New York University and the Pratt Institute.

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