Comments/Context: Rachel Perry Welty's newest show is a straightforward example of taking a visual aesthetic created in a fine art mode and applying it to a commercial project. Expanding on the optical illusion via everyday household items conceptual approach she developed in her series Lost in My Life, these works push further into the realm of branded luxury culture, taking on a more Pop Art feel.
On an accessories shoot for Vogue, Welty used signature fabrics from various fashion houses as the basis for her camouflage, matching generally flat patterned backgrounds with objects made out of the same prints to create her disappearing effect. These mirages are simpler and less sculptural than her earlier efforts, with less of a sense of drowning in hoarded piles of twist ties, bread tags, or vegetable price stickers. Instead, Welty vanishes into a brightly patterned pink and blue floral golf bag from Prada and a jumble of purple and green tote bags from Givenchy. Other visual tricks play on the black and white pansies of an Alexander Wang motorcycle helmet, the impressionistic flowers of a Kirkwood shoe, and the snakeskin bag and leather boots of a head to toe Balenciaga look.
While getting lost in couture brands might imply the seditious bite of anti-consumerist irony, these images are surprisingly light and decorative, the criticism muted to a quiet undercurrent. In the pages of Vogue, being defined by possessions or reveling in a luxurious pattern isn't necessarily a negative.
Collector's POV: The works in this small show are priced between $5000 and $7000 each. Welty's work has limited secondary market history at this point, so gallery retail is likely still the best option for collectors interested in following up.
Rating: * (one star) GOOD (rating system described here)
- Artist site (here)
Through July 6th
Yancey Richardson Gallery
535 West 22nd Street
New York, NY 10011