Chloe Wise, a Canadian-born, New York-based artist, has gained critical acclaim for her re-creations of designer handbags that appear as if they are made from various forms of bread, ranging from pancakes, to bagels, to toast. Using oil paint and urethane, Wise paints the structures to be deceiving hyperrealist creations of the famous handbags.
Wise is an artist who has benefited from celebrity endorsement. Wise’s career exploded overnight when actress India Menuez took one of her bags to a film screening. Spectators’ love of the surprising and quirky re-creation led to the opening of Wise’s first solo show entitled, “Pissing, Schmoozing and Looking Away,” which opened March 26 in Canada.
Wise’s creations seem like the perfect celebrity obsession: unique and high fashion. They are odd enough to draw attention, but cute enough to silence many of the more traditional naysayers of the art and fashion worlds. However, Wise has spoken out about the meaning of her handbags, telling Bullett, “I wanted to show the parallels between the idolatry for luxury items in fashion with the equivalent importance of the commodity in the art world. In a similar way, sculptures/artworks are valuable status items, and both designer goods and sculptural pieces can be seen as pieces of cultural capital.”
For all of their quirky light-heartedness, the collection is rooted in conceptual meaning. And in my opinion, it is an incredibly successful collection. Food is universal. There is something about the recreation of food and its incorporation into art that reaches everyone while maintaining a sense of humor. The creation of a handbag relates directly to the fashion industry, yet also inherently relates to the art world simply by being a work of art.
I normally do not enjoy such humorous and eccentric art, but Wise manages to strike perfect harmony with this collection. Wise’s other art follows similar lines of thought, although much of it flourishes into the world of avant-garde art. Her work is humorous, ironic and sometimes vulgar, but firmly planted in the relationships of personal identity, religion, sexuality, social media and current society. Much of her work repeatedly combines food and sexual imagery, using a wide range of media that extends from matzo to silicone or oil paint.
Perhaps the most striking part of Wise’s website is her obvious appeal to the younger generations. As a 20-something, 2013 graduate of Concordia University, the wide range of media, very current themes and interesting presentations of her art are all very much in a fresh and youthful style. The entire site is brimming with signs of Wise’s limitless humor. The cursor, instead of a traditional arrow, is a detailed picture of a cat. One of her series is entitled “Literally Me,” and features paintings of Wise in an array of odd outfits. There is even a video to document the series, which features the artist goofily dancing around the studio and posing beside mirror images of herself. Her video art, in particular, has the feel of that of a YouTube comedian.
If you can handle some mildly crude imagery, her work is definitely worth checking out. With the already-incredibly varied collections of art this young artist has produced, the work to come is sure to be humorous, innovative and relatable.