Rooted in historical exhibitions, Reframing Gender starts where other shows leave off. Instead of ignoring the Other, Jason Cyrus brings the experiences of BIPOC and trans* individuals experience with clothing to the forefront.
This small exhibition explores what fashion means to us culturally and historically, and how we represent our identity through clothing.
The clothes themselves explore difference between ‘masc’ and ‘femme’ clothing ideals of the twentieth century, as well as traditional marriage outfits. The clothing primarily comes from York University’s Theatre Department and the curator and his friends. While not intended to create a complete model of fashion of any period, the clothes instead are used to be physical manifestations of popular clothing tropes, which are discredited in four videos that are playing in the gallery.
Cyrus aims to bring the words of the interviewees to life by placing quotes from their interview on the walls in lieu of didactic information. While these quotes are relevant to the exhibit as a whole, those without a deep understanding of fashion and contemporary discourses surrounding gender could be confused.
Aside from those grievances, Cyrus makes a very personal exhibition come alive. The curator is everywhere in the exhibition, from the inclusion of his own garments, to his hand painted walls, Reframing Gender touches the hearts of many of us who see our clothing as a direct representation of our identities.