Chloe York’s “Decorators” to Open in Alumni Gallery

Contact: Carrie Corbett
Director of College Communications

Aug. 2, 2013

The Decorator XXII by Chloe York

Chloe York’s Decorators to Open in Alumni Gallery

UPDATE: Chloe York’s exhibition Decorators will remain on display through Oct. 15.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis College of Art announces the opening of Decorators by Chloe York on Aug. 19. The exhibition will be on view in the Alumni Gallery of Rust Hall through Sept. 27, alongside Horn Island 29 in our Main Gallery, with an opening reception for both shows on Sept. 7, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

York received her BFA from Memphis College of Art in 2012 with a concentration in Painting and a minor in Art History. She currently works as an admissions counselor at MCA. Her work deals with issues of camouflage, defense and the exploration of beauty; what makes something pleasing to the eye.

“My current body of work explores my fascination with putting on makeup, skin and hair treatments, padded bras and uncomfortable high-heeled shoes to obtain an appearance that is deemed pleasing to a broad, general eye. I consider this practice a form of self-defense against those who would form opinions about me based on a narrow set of socially prescribed images of the ideal woman in television, magazines and movies,” explains York. “Compared to other species, humans display fears about personal appearance in ways that no other creature does, but I do see similarities in the desire of animals to camouflage and defend themselves from predators and to alter their appearance in order to attract a mate. One such creature is the decorator crab. When threatened, the decorator crab collects bits of its surroundings like vegetation, coral and smaller organisms and covers its entire body, camouflaging itself. Inspired by this creature’s practice and my love/hate relationship with altering my own appearance, I paint stylized, androgynous human figures that are almost unrecognizable with all the oceanic patterns and forms covering their bodies.”

To convey the idea of self-defense on the painting surface itself, York uses complementary color palettes and strong detail work to play with the viewer’s eye, and the use of flat acrylic paint handling on the surface allows the patterns and shapes to play against each other all the more. This flattened and depthless aesthetic discourages the desire to spend an extended amount of time looking at the piece, while the repetitive details within each simple shape aid in leading the viewer’s eye around the figure’s body and its environment. “The surface is inviting, but also confusing and tumultuous,” says York, “challenging the idea that decorating oneself is as advantageous as many of us have been led to believe.”

Rust Hall’s Alumni Gallery is open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, and noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Memphis College of Art provides a rigorous curriculum in an intimate, diverse community to empower generations of leading artists, designers and educators to flourish professionally and contribute valuable ideas to society. The region’s only independent art and design college, MCA is fully accredited with expert, nationally renowned faculty and grants BFA, MFA, MA in Art Education and MA in Teaching degrees with graduates excelling in various careers across the country and internationally. For more information, visit Follow us on Facebook at and on Twitter at @memphisart.

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