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Review: Draped: Anonymous Women and Sovereign

Photographs from Patty Carroll and new work from Amaryllis DeJesus Moleski



It's funny what we take for granted — or not. Some regions of France have banned the "burkini" — the body-concealing swimwear some Muslim women wear to the beach — as "culturally inappropriate." But the laws accidentally may have banned Catholic nuns, whose habits are similarly concealing, from visiting the seashore. How awkward. For photographer Patty Carroll, clothes and home decor are extensions of our skin, and her experiences abroad convinced her that all three have everything to do with how women are perceived. In her photographs, they fuse into a single dreamlike image, so Kilim initially resembles a heap of oriental rugs, but a second glance reveals the female form obscured amid exotic patterns. In Dotty, a figure covered entirely in polka-dotted fabric suggests a vintage Diane von Furstenberg fashion shoot commissioned by a trendy ayatollah. 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 (pictured), a regal figure draped 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.   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 wearing a halo of flowers, sunshine and lightning. Crown features a full-figured Nubian princess in a headdress of rainbows, hearts and bones. Instructions for Freedom suggests an orgiastic mosh pit of tawny goddesses, yet here as elsewhere the tone is utopian and aspirational, as whimsical as a fairy tale.

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