Shelby Wynne RichardsonĂ˘Â?Â?s Views on Self Viewing Self (2015) capitalizes on the perceptibility of certain materials and the overperformance of oneself as a way to begin exploring and pushing the boundaries of identity. Four headpieces exist at an accessible height, split down the center by the addition of a mirror and an invitation to both try the headpieces on and document oneself in them. The act of placing such an outlandish object upon oneĂ˘Â?Â?s head invites the viewer to view themselves in a new light, or perhaps gain a certain type of power or agency from the action of adorning their body in such a way. Similar to putting on a superhero cape, the gesture of adult dress up allows the viewer, and now performer, to feel a sense of levity or power they perhaps did not feel before.
Aside from the performative aspect of this installation, the materiality of these objects is of great importance. A neon pink and bulbous halo adorned with pearls, a metallic green cap filled with gold jingle bells, a reflective origami tiara, and plush fabric crown coated in gold leaf, are neither quiet nor unassuming. Each object displayed upon a white mannequin head and colored wig, only adds to the specialness of the object and the implied spectacle of feminine identity. RichardsonĂ˘Â?Â?s attention to craft and light capturing materials incites the need felt by the artist for increased visibility within her own visual material culture.