News; Nike MagistaX Proximo TF Soccer Cleats - Chilling Red/Bright Cri

Published: Friday 06 November, 2015

A story behind every frock Pollet Brannen's gender bending, satirical, pointed and playful garments are on exhibit in a show called FLESH, at the gallery to Dec. 15. They are forms of visibly stitched leather bustiers, codpieces and pointed hats. She uses chicken wire in a skirt, makes a summer dress entirely out of inner soles and adds polka dotted fabric for clown like accents. Nike Turf Soccer Cleats She can point to famous conceptual artist Garry Neill Kennedy's shoes, her own child's skateboard shoes, her studio mate's worn shoes. "One of the hats has a pair of shoes that belong to my mother, and she has very bad bunions, and I look at that hat and I see my mother. It's a very personal thing. "I like the idea there is a story behind these." Pollet Brannen loves seeing people in the rigid clothes because they are anti haute couture. They are designed as warrior wear to give people strength. "It's a little restrictive. It makes you hold yourself a certain way. People become very empowered." A vegetarian for 22 years, she wants to pay homage to the animal that gives its life for shoes. There are three "skins" in this exhibit, she says: the skin of the animal, the shoes, which are skins that mould themselves to the contour of a person's foot, and the garments, which are a third skin covering the human body. This body of work started with an anatomy drawing class that included lessons on drawing the human foot. She started thinking about Chinese foot binding, corsets that restricted women's upper bodies to the point they couldn't breathe, 20th century high heels that damaged women's feet. "The fashion industry, I think, is really hard for women," she says, in an interview at the gallery. "It has become so impersonal, and we are forced to empty our wallets every year because trends change so quickly." The way Pollet Brannen works is antithetical to the waste, expense and new technologies in many industries. Like a medieval shoemaker, the artist hand sews everything. "I like that idea of the craft. It's my redemptive nature.

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I try to pay homage to the original maker. "I take everything apart carefully and I keep everything. I keep the liner and the soles." She even keeps the thread and uses it in embroidery, harking back to women's traditional craft. "Now I am obsessed. I cannot throw things out." Pollet Brannen, a 2009 graduate from NSCAD University, raids the NSCAD fashion department trash bins for the unbleached cotton that students use to test patterns and ideas before going to more expensive fabrics. She is interested in the fetishization of the shoe and in further fetishizing it by putting it in an art gallery. Cross dressing is also considered a fetish, she says. Nike Magistax Proximo "I like the idea of blurring the lines between clothing for men and women. I like to play around with gender issues, what's appropriate and what we are kind of forced to wear and what we are not allowed to wear." She loves innovative Belgian fashion designers who are making skirts for men, and is also fond of the French designer Gaultier and the late Scottish designer, Alexander McQueen. Her artwork, The Dykhuis Project, features a female mannequin wearing a "Roman warrior hat" and a garment with a codpiece and a bustier made out of old shoes donated by Peter Dykhuis, director curator of the Dalhousie Art Gallery and a lover of creative shoe design. Her self portrait includes embroidered red leather from a pair of her favourite clogs. The piece, High Mid Low Tops, is made out of Nike high tops with the Swoosh incorporated as a design element. "I tried to make it look like it was not a Nike sign." The polka dot fabric skirts and pieces were inspired by printed fabric the late artist Gerry Ferguson gave her. "I love polka dots. The circle is the perfect form." She also paints polka dots on fabric. "It's part of continuously working. When you hit a wall, there's always polka dots you can paint. It's about always being busy."

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