Atlanta and Athens artist Jaime Bull is best known for her voluptuous, feminine, swimsuit-clad sculptures. In Rhinestone Cowgirls, an exhibition of new work at Whitespec, her sculptures head for dry land. Underneath their glitz, glam and humor remains a subtle and serious intent. The show is tucked into the small space across the courtyard from the main Whitespace gallery located in Inman Park. It runs through March 23.
A Southwestern sunset painted in vibrant colors hangs at the entrance. Glossy acrylic coats neon cacti and shimmery terrain. The image echoes into the next room, printed on a tapestry that is stretched across the back wall.
The focal installation, in the center of an elongated room, uses eight sculptures to play on the history of ready-made items. Bull adds a contemporary commentary to the origin of the term, originally drawn from ready-to-wear clothing. Chairs, ottomans and side tables are strapped together and covered in such garments as a leopard-print leotard, denim overalls or sequin gowns.
True to the tradition of found-object sculpture, Bull reinforces the work with her titles. Viewers are invited to circle the installation while Dolly Parton sings “like a rhinestone cowgirl” on a loop. Each sculpture is named for a fictitious character. Shown together, Bull says, they make up “a lady gang of horsewomen and bucking broncos” as an exploration of being a woman. The work expands upon a narrative of lively personalities, epitomizing glamour and gaudiness.
Other cultural references are found throughout, too, including Thelma and Louise from Ridley Scott’s 1991 buddy-adventure film with Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis, and Bull herself.