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In just a few seasons, the Rodarte sisters have introduced a new opacity into fashion's weighted spectrum. Through intricate, web-like sweaters, see-through chiffon dresses, and barely-there nude looks, the design duo has suggested a silhouette that’s full of shadows, layers, and meaning, while simultaneously defining a new, dangerous femininity. In Rodarte’s world, latex, straps, raw hems, and chains are far from restrictive. Rather they appear as incidents, in the decisive unveiling of a cast of female archetypes moving in and out of definition.

Similarly, transparency, or the impossibility of transparency, has become the defining aesthetic of the artist Marlene McCarty. In her colossal, billboard sized drawings (crafted with only a ballpoint pen and graphite pencil), the artist has often depicted women and young girls in spectacular states of transition. She is perhaps most known for her pantheon of characters based on real life teenage girls who have murdered their families. More recently McCarty produced a series of women simultaneously embracing and giving birth to primates. Whether they are shown multi-limbed in transparent dress, or in the embrace of beasts, McCarty's characters always share a certain supernatural grace.

Commissioned by curator Dominic Sidhu in response to Rodarte’s recent collection, McCarty created a visual essay in four parts: Absorption, Reflection, Inversion, Progression. The drawings show supermodel Anja Rubik as the elemental Rodarte woman, morphing from woman to beast, becoming one with the cloth, and embodying McCarty's contrast of primeval precision.

Special thanks Bronwyn Keenan
Imaging: Industrial Color, NYC

(Absorption) No. 1, 2008

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