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Sinéad O'Dwyer sculpture fashion RCA
Sinéad O'Dwyer Final CollectionCourtesy of Sinéad O'Dwyer

A new NYC exhibition shines a spotlight on Sinéad O’Dwyer

Taking place at the newly opened Waves and Archives gallery, In Myself is set to open this weekend

Ever since she presented her graduate collection as part of the Royal Academy of Art’s MA showcase in 2018, Sinéad O’Dwyer has captivated and enthralled all who come into contact with her work. Exploring the complexities of body image through her wearable silicone sculptures, the Irish designer has gained a legion of fans: with the likes of Arca, Paloma Elsesser, and Beth Ditto among them. 

Teetering on the edge of art and fashion, her signature colourful body pieces will now be the focus of a new show, entitled In Myself. Taking place at Waves and Archives, a new gallery space in New York, the show will seek to explore O’Dwyer as a ‘fashion artist’.

“Sinéad’s work is heartbreakingly beautiful in its concept,” Manan Ter-Grigoryan, one of Waves and Archives’ founders explains. “It is current, it is theoretically grounded, it references its own medium to create poignant commentary. It is for all intents and purposes, what I would call – without a moment of hesitation – good art.”

Launched alongside artist, curator, and writer Julian A. Jimarez Howard and Marianna Kosheleva, Waves and Archives aims to platform designers whose work traverses the line between art and fashion. Inspired by O’Dwyer’s ability to do this, Ter-Grigoryan also cited the likes of Iris Van Herpen and Sieran Tsuno as other creatives she would like to work with in the future. 

Hoping to ‘endorse fashion as one of art’s mediums in academic, institutional, and art world settings’, one of the most prominent reasons Waves and Archives were intent on showcasing O’Dwyer’s work was because of the unique way she grapples with body politics. 

“To this day, fashion has largely responded to the question of body politics by blindly promoting arbitrary inclusiveness, and in the process only re-establishing binary dichotomies, such as normal/alternative,” Ter-Grigoryan says. “In contrast, Sinéad does not use the ‘norm’ as a departure point to suggest ‘the alternative’. She uses each body as its own departure point. I think this is a very important statement to make in a world where the fashion industry drives women into body dysmorphia.”

With the show displaying a range of O’Dwyer’s silicone moulds suspended from the ceiling and placed on glass tables, the gallery’s founders hope to promote O’Dwyer’s pieces freely, unencumbered by the “conceptual visions of a curator.

Reinforcing their vision for a new type of fashion exhibition, Ter-Grigoryan went onto cement her views as to why O’Dwyer is the perfect designer to pioneer in this movement. “I can easily picture Sinéad's work as the subject of museum shows and academic articles,” she says. “I can see it changing the way we relate to the medium of fashion.”