Beverly Semmes came out swinging at the patriarchy in the early 1990s, propelled by feminist indignation and a canny sense of humor. At Locks Gallery in Philadelphia, her recent show of work from the last two decades was ample evidence that her well-aimed licks continue to connect. The form and content of women’s garments remain favored strategies, here apparent in fabric sculpture, shown in the company of paintings and works in clay.
The majestic installation Marigold (2022) occupied pride of place opposite the entrance to the room. Sarah Burton and her design team at the Alexander McQueen studio commissioned Semmes and eleven other women visual artists to engage in a “creative dialogue” between their own practice and items they selected from the designer’s new collection. Along with the other commissions, Semmes’s witty interrogation of what we mean when we say “fashion” debuted at McQueen’s flagship store in London.