The exhibition Stylish Breed looks at embellishment as a means of disguise through the artworks of Elaine Bradford and Megan Greene. The two artists featured in this exhibition organized by Allison Peters Quinn, Director of Exhibitions at the Art Center, have independently created strong bodies of work that raise questions about the adaptability of species with humor and elegance. Combining pattern and decoration typical in fashion and craft with found natural history objects, both Bradford and Greene propose a distinct new camouflage for the animal needing to blend into the ever-expanding urban environment.
According to Charles Darwin, species alter their appearance over time in response to their environment in order to survive and evolve. The sculptures and photographs by Elaine Bradford and the works on paper by Megan Greene take Darwin’s theory of phenotype (or the visible characteristics of an animal that result from the combined effects of the genes and the environment) even further by incorporating human fashion and adornment as a means for a species to adapt to its surroundings. Bradford creates crocheted body armor for taxidermy squirrels, deer, and antelope and enlivens them in installations as well as photographs of them positioned in the wild. Greene builds her drawings by using the famous19th c. prints of American birds by J. J. Audubon as a base to dissolve, reassemble, and transform the birds into hybridized forms that meld couture patterns and textures with the uncomplicated organic shapes of nature and the environment.
About the artists:
Elaine Bradford lives and works in Houston, TX. She holds an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts (2003) and a BFA from the University of Texas at Austin (2000). Recent solo shows have been at ArtLeague (TX) and Hunt Gallery, Webster University, St. Louis. She is a founding member and Exhibition Coordinator of Box 13 ArtSpace, an innovative artist-run studio and gallery space in Houston. Bradford was the recipient of a 2008 Individual Artist Fellowship Grant from the Houston Arts Alliance. She just completed a residency at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft and a large-scale installation commissioned by the City of Houston for the Vinson Neighborhood Library.
A native of Buffalo (NY), Megan Greene earned an MFA degree from Rutgers University and a BFA from Notre Dame University, both with a focus on painting and drawing. She was awarded a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship to live in New Zealand, where she researched Maori and Pacific Islander forms of adornment. Her works have been exhibited nationally at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Maine, Kinz, Tillou+Feigen gallery (New York), and locally at Carrie Secrist Gallery. Her work is held in the permanent collections of the Albright Knox Art Gallery and the Burchfield Penney Art Center (NY).