Glamour: Looks and looking

Students attend the opening reception for Glamour: A Dialogue Concerning Looking and Looks Exhibition in the Contemporary Arts Gallery on Thursday Oct 27, 2016. The exhibition runs through Dec. 9, 2016. (Yuwei Zhao/The Daily Campus)

In the small gallery space of the art building a new exhibit was opened to the public on Thursday night. The theme: glamour. This collection of artists’ works spanned many different aspects of what glamour means as well as a wide range of medias and styles. With the floor and walls painted bright yellow, the exhibit tended to highlight glamour as it pertained to women and their bodies, often satirical of the expectations of society.

“Yellow is a very glamorous color. There was an attitude I wanted to convey and I couldn’t do it with white walls,” said Barry Rosenberg, one of the panel members and Director and Exhibition Curator of the Contemporary Art Galleries.

There were large and small portraits of women of all kinds in different outfits and settings. Some were black and white photographs of unconventional dress of women, while others sought to highlight the opposite. There were paintings of women, photographs of women, even short films depicting some facet of women and glamour.

Two of the most striking pieces were set up in the back of the gallery providing a backdrop to the exhibit, both being short films. One included a digitally modeled woman in modern exercise attire being slowly contorted at different angles while being narrated by a sort of slam poetry about beauty. Artist Kate Cooper designed this piece titled, “RIGGED,” as a call to attention of modern expectations of the female body.

The other short film piece was by one of the few male artists featured in the exhibit, Ryan Trecartin, a Rhode Island School of Design student. Trecartin’s piece showed polarized depictions of young women with bright and heavy applications of makeup doing stereotypical activities of young American girls. For example, the over use of cell phones, but with the film sped up and filled with jump cuts designed to make the viewer uncomfortable. This depiction of an ‘over saturated world’ was a satire of the aspirations of young women, not only in day-to-day life but in music, culture and media as well.

After the crowd of roughly 40 people had plenty of time to view the gallery and visit the refreshments tables, the panel began late, as the surprise snow showers had caught up two of the panel members.

The panel members were a wide range of different artists. Different in their personal styles as they were in their works. It was set up to be more of an engaging style talk with the audience as opposed to simply a lecture about the exhibit and its works.

The discussion began with the question: “What does glamour mean to you?”

The different panel members engaged with the students in the audience very freely, discussing what the different definitions of glamour mean to different people and how its definition can easily change with a different perspective or expectation. They comfortably explored the aspects of their lives as artists and how their personal histories are reflected in their styles and their works as being both exhausting and rewarding.

After much extrapolation and exploration as a group, many of the panel members confided in the answer one student from the audience gave: “Glamour is being unapologetically you.”


Dan Wood is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at daniel.wood@uconn.edu