soft shells by libby oliver
Clothing is a part of the communication between humans. It expresses our class, our religious affiliation, our occupation and gender identity. Every day, we can express who we are to the world by just getting dressed !
Libby Oliver is a Canada based artist behind an ongoing fascinating portrait series called Soft Shells. Each photo captures a different person with their entire wardrobe wrapped around them.The human body disappears behind the clothing carefully selected to define an individuality. For Oliver: « Fashion is interesting because it does have so much cultural and social and environmental and self-identity tied up into it. Clothing grounds us to our notions of self and works to cue others to our chosen identity narrative. What we wear is thus both an exercise in our creative individual autonomy and a system of social surveillance and categorization.”
Oliver is precise and clear about the way she works : « I enjoy the mundane, habitual and borderline ritualistic underpinnings of our culture. I am interested in our struggle for independence and control within the greater limitations of prescribed social constraints. Through investigating our perceived individuality. I use categorization, repetition and the realism of these mediums to extract, or recreate moments of time that emphasize the peculiarity of trivial collective habits.I use humour and satire to make my work accessible to a wider audience in an attempt to create a space for social inquiry and critique for the relatively unconsidered patterns of society. »
Soft shells are the expression of an ethnology study of our modern lives, these portraits reveal our constant research for identity and the consumerism system of today.