À La Mode

One of the greatest examples of interactive media I’ve ever seen came burned onto a CD-ROM bundled with an annual awards issue of ID magazine. Love Disc 95, the work of Paul Kim and Karl Ackermann, former RISD graduates, was a series of stream of consciousness mini games of clickety-click bliss, navigated with a little yappity dog avatar (there is a website but it appears unloved and abandoned unfortunately). One of my favorite bits was a simple choice between two variations of the word “glamour.” Selecting the first launched an audio file which pronounced the noun with the breathless admiration of a spectator at a Paris runway: “GLAMerrr…” The second was enunciated as if uttered by an exacting but enthusiastic language coach: “gla-MORE-ay…” My roommates and I would play the files over and over again, laughing and repeating them for the sheer joy of it.
Rachel Kaye’s show at Triple Base Gallery is equal parts glamerrr and glamoreay, both giddy with that indescribable “IT” that the camera loves and attentive to the variety of subjects that get sucked into its orbit.
Several film versions of Romeo and Juliet make the cut, as well as images of royalty: the Virgin Queen herself who appears to be sinking by degrees into her substantial habiliment and her latter day namesake who casts a jaundiced eye upon a model from the floor of George Condi’s studio. On the facing wall Kaye has painted a work that captures all the ones from the opposite side of the gallery, like a photo shoot of her own exhibit. It would be interesting to see what an entire issue of Vogue painted by Kaye might look like.
Her work reminds me of sketchy paintwork of Moira Kalman (genius). The elephants book-ending the bench in the center of the gallery and the Toile cats, skins mimicking furniture fabric and porcelain complete the taxonomy of posh (and also disconcertingly suggest the air of chic shoe store). If such sensibility can be dismissed as an over-infatuation with surface, Kaye’s painting is a nice reminder that it also often ushers in a much needed freshness, as well as rescuing the old and repositioning it to make it seem new again. Superficial and stunning both, we need the glamerrr as much as we may sometimes deride the glamoreay.


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