Paul by Paul by Paul

paul by paul by paul exhibition

VCUarts The Anderson is pleased to present Paul by Paul by Paul, an exhibition from Sydney Finch on view from October 20 through 28, 2020. Finch is a 2020 Painting & Printmaking MFA graduate whose culminating thesis exhibition at The Anderson was postponed in Spring 2020 due to COVID-19.

Stop by The Anderson October 20 through October 24, 12–5pm, for live performances by Paul. The performances will also be live streamed daily on The Anderson’s YouTube channel.


Even though I have escaped from the closet, the closet has not escaped me. In my imagination and in my work, the closet is an archive, full of wonders, artifacts, and memories that form a rich history. The closet contains examples of beauty and suffering. Paul by Paul by Paul is a group of wearable garments as conceptual sculptures. In this context, “collection” has a double meaning, referring to groups of garments presented as a body of work and to an accumulation of objects. Paul by Paul by Paul is more like an accumulation; it avoids homogenous aesthetics and employs a variety of strategies for transforming second hand materials into one of a kind clothes.

The collection is a circular creation, based on experiences of inventing my own personae and performing myself again and again. Each piece is a novel combination of materials and historical references, informed by a cyclical way of thinking about time. There is no blank slate. I collect materials whose histories overlap with my own, and frame what I do as being the afterlife of that material. I find almost everything through organic means, like sifting through the wreckage of history. I treat thrift stores, antique stores, Etsy and eBay as ad hoc cultural archives. The materials that exist in these informal historical collections are ripe for remaking, and I remix them to find areas of overlap between different moment in the histories of queer experience and the aesthetics we now associate with queer expression.

The materiality of performance is not fixed, but one thing it can be is a small and dynamic reflection of light, bouncing off a sequin, safety pin, a rhinestone, or a steel stud. It’s something that catches the eye and gains attention. As a way to explore the physical materiality of performativity and flamboyance, these garments refer to histories of entertainment and performers’ costumes. I want to look at how spectacle is constructed, and how the psychologies that are embedded within it can be reified.