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Windswept Fashion Art Exhibition @ Pata Gallery Shanghai
05/17/2017 by arete

From May 6th to May 30th 2017, Arete and artist Tracie Cheng presents “Windswept” fashion art exhibition at Pata Gallery, Shanghai M50. "Windswept" is an exquisitely curated exhibition of contemporary artwork, fashion design, and fashion film that explores self-expressions of fluidity, movement, and freedom. Using collaborative designs that convey airiness and kinetic energy taking flight, the exhibition showcases a visually layered journey from an International Chinese perspective.

Christina Liao, Head Designer for womenswear fashion brand Arete, remembers the moment she first saw the work of Asian American artist Tracie Cheng, whose textured, ethereal landscapes create three-dimensional spaces of two-dimensional surfaces. “I was immediately drawn to the movement and thought how amazing it would be to see it flow in the wind,” she says, describing the fabric inspiration behind Arete’s ‘Windswept’ themed Spring / Summer 2017 collection.

Cheng’s architectural background allows her to contrast soft paintings with structured lines, an aesthetic that mirrors Arete’s focus on strength and softness, as well as the collections specific exploration of fluidity versus dimension. Through layering, her work naturally evolves into the unexpected and her belief that it contains “more than meets the eye” mirrors Liao’s comparison of the collection to the ocean; tranquil and calm on the surface but with a powerful undercurrent beneath.

It was two pieces in particular, “Above the Depths” and “Spirit Descends,” which inspired the designer’s Spring / Summer 2017 collection.” Of these titles Cheng says, “They are thoughts from my life of faith. Whether you feel like you are soaring above all the darkness, able to see clearly, or just barely staying above struggles in life, there is still hope and there is light.”

Inspired by the deep cascade of lines and movement of these artworks, Liao wanted to incorporate them into the texture of the fabrics themselves. The custom-made lace was created in parallel to the fluidity of the topography lines and the organza is inspired by Tracie’s line drawing “Back to Silence.” As if drawing from the title itself, Liao says, “I wanted to see the lines move in silence but against the sheer organza so that it comes alive on the wearer.”

The fil coupe fabric was drawn from the organic brushstrokes of Cheng’s paintings, with the linear hand beaded embellishment added to evoke movement and contrast against its organic shape.

No more evidently does the collection reveal Cheng’s work as with the gown, which directly takes Tracie's work "Above the Depths" and prints it onto a special mesh. “I wanted a dress that wasn't restricted by movement, a dress where I could imagine a dancer wearing it,” says Liao. This piece perfectly embodies the collection’s theme of ‘Windswept,’ which welcomes spring and explores the idea of breaking free from winter, free from restrictions and taking flight in the warm breeze.

Cheng says of the collaboration, “how my paintings weave and envelop the fabric is so much more than I could conceive. The contrasting movement and space in my paintings is well depicted in the gown; while layered and textured, it is also airy and kinetic. The bare lined fabric conveys a transparency and openness that I seek in my work. The collection is complex and yet simple, which is how I like to understand my paintings. It's wonderful to see this collaboration, and the paintings, come to life in this way.”