Sunday, August 28, 2016

Carroll at Chaisson; Moleski at Foundation

Funny what we take for granted--or not. Some regions of France have banned the "burkini" -- the body-concealing swimwear devout Muslim women wear to the beach--as "culturally inappropriate." But the laws may have accidentally banned Roman Catholic nuns, whose habits are similarly concealing. How awkward. For photographer Patty Carroll, clothes and home décor are extensions of our skin, and her experiences abroad convinced her that all three have a lot to do with how women are perceived. In her photographs, they are all fused into a single dreamlike image, so Kilim, below left, initially suggests a heap of oriental rugs, but a second glance reveals the female form obscured amid all the exotic patterns. In Dotty, a figure draped in a polka-dot fabric suggests a vintage Diane von Furstenburg fashion shoot arranged by a trendy ayatollah, and in Royal, a woman on a gold throne is swathed in blue silk that perfectly matches the satiny blue theater curtain behind her. But in Chandelier, top, a regal figure swathed in white against a black background wears a chandelier as a crown. By challenging our habitual expectations, Draped takes us on a mystery tour of the remote realms of the subconscious that we don't usually visit except in dreams.

Amaryllis DeJesus Moleski has had it with stereotypes. This series of paintings on paper focuses on, in her words, “all things queer, feminine, Afro-Diaspora, futuristic, mixed, and alchemical.” She also likes glitter. Her buoyantly rendered figures are bubbly, vaguely Afro-futurist earth deities who wear their third eye with pride in works like Sovereign, where a caramel Aphrodite arises from the sea. Cerberus, left, features a full figured Nubian princess in repose wearing a halo of flowers, sunshine and lightning. Instructions for a Freedom suggests an orgiastic mosh pit of tawny goddesses, yet here as elsewhere the tone is utopian, aspirational, as whimsical as a fairy tale. ~ Bookhardt / Draped: Anonymous Women: Photographs by Patty Carroll, Through Sept. 10, Martine Chaisson Gallery, 727 Camp St., 302-7942; Soverign: New Work by Amaryllis DeJesus Moleski, Through Sept. 25,Foundation Gallery, 1109 Royal St., 568-0955;