Bonnie Benson has just returned from California and a showing of the fabulous work of Isabelle de Borchgrave.  Ms Borchgrave is of considerable interest to me since she combines fashion, the figure, and paper in what could loosely be called a collage and more than a collage.

Here is what Bonnie had to report: A Sunday in San Francisco

Proclaimed from every light post, “Pulp FASHION the Art of Isabelle de Borchgrave” The show drew me to San Francisco like an oversized magnet.

Jump on the #38 bus, Geary Street, for a sunny ride across town to 33rd Street.  Change to the #18 bus, or if your impatient like me, hike your way up the hill to the Legion of Honor where the Lions welcome you to a fantasy in paper.

You enter the show through Isabelle’s bigger than life studio.  Everything in paper, of course, and everything hugely over sized. Yes, pencils, scissors, paint brushes and paint pots all out of paper. The only fabric in the place was the table covering which is the actual fabric off of her worktable, and of course dated in the corner

 To the left several manikins show various stages of her design process plus, videos showing her working in her actual studio.

This is just an introduction to six amazing galleries overflowing with Isabelle’s art.  For those of us who love the detail, most of the garments were displayed so you could get your nose an inch away, before the guards started warning you not to touch.

It is amazing how many different textures she can get from one piece of paper. Pleated, all done by hand, crinkled, satin-smooth.  What may look like solid color in a picture has been over painted, sponged, brushed, or stamped. This woman has used every paint technique, every textured gel, and every kind of paper that you can think of.  Just about the time you “get” how she accomplished a look, she shows you three other ways to do it.  I was on my tenth trip through the galleries, in two days, I was still seeing new things, taking more notes, getting more ideas.

I ended up with a notebook full of notes, more than enough ideas to keep me going for more than a year. 

There is a beautifully done book of the exhibit, but like all her books it only begins to show the amazing talent of this woman. Drop by her website, and do plan to spend some time, checking out every button and watching every movie. 

If you live near San Francisco you still have a week to see Isabelle De Borchgrave’s paintings at the Serge Sorokko Gallery.

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