The Art of Fashion
May 4th - June 4th
Opening Reception: May 18th, 5-9pm

THE ART OF FASHION at Gallery Z in May includes both a fine art exhibit exploring the art of fashion and style AND an exciting, not-to-be-missed live fashion show of one-of-a kind designs, during May 18th's evening opening reception, as colorful wearable art by young fashion designer and artist Melissa Thyden will be modeled in a runway show for this exhibit, both of which she has curated. And throughout the month, fashion-themed fine art work by several regional artists - Melissa Thyden, Chrissy Bulakites, Erin O'Leary Bates, Judith Ferrara, Larisa Martino, Renee Caouette, Sabina Mollot and handmade jewelry by Richard Bradley - will be on display. The fashion show on the evening of May 18th will feature ten different looks by Cosmic Unicornz, designer Melissa Thyden's fashion line that explodes with color, space-age design, innovatively combined textures and one-of-a-kind styles for contemporary fun-loving young women. Hair that complements each model's presentation will be done by Maggie Bouchard, and makeup by Dazirae Reynhart. The models will stay to mingle with visitors following the show, offering a close-up of these groundbreaking garments.

Melissa Thyden, b. 1987, is a Boston-based illustrator, painter and fashion designer who creates paintings, objects, garments and accessories radiating youthful, colorful energy. Melissa has taken courses at the Boston School of Fashion Design and the Worcester Art Museum and has a BFA from UMass Dartmouth. Her clothing line, "Cosmic Unicornz", features original dresses and skirts, hand-painted shoes, denim, silkscreened T-Shirts and handmade accessories. One of her skirts was featured in an international commercial for Mattel's Monster High Dolls. Melissa's designs are in great demand and are inspired by 1980s' cartoons and by art nouveau and contemporary street art. Her studio is located in Boston (

Chrissy Bulakites was born in a Connecticut forest on June 12, 1989. A Gemini who works in duality and contradiction, her art marries atypical combinations - the pretty and the ugly, the light and the dark, bold color and black and white. Her digital photography and mixed media address social issues such as body image, gender identity, race. Chrissy currently resides in Boston where she earns her living with her commercial photography business.

Erin O'Leary Bates is a photographer, who studied at CDIA BU, and owned her own studio by age twenty-seven. Erin draws inspiration from the vintage pin-up culture, believing that anyone can feel beautiful rocking that iconic style.

Judith Ferrara is a highly accomplished artist, poet and educator who has been exhibiting regularly since 1999, receiving the Jacob Knight Emerging Artist award in 2000. Her work is notable for its strong expressive colors and stylized shapes and pattern in acrylics, oils, oil sticks, oil pastels, pastels, pencils, transfers and/or archival inks. The process is integral; her ongoing search for meaning leads her to tend to work in series. Judith's work has been in many solo exhibitions in addition to a long list of group shows, and her work is in numerous publications.

Larisa Martino is an ethnically Russian artist, born, raised and educated in Central Asia in the former USSR. Growing up in a multicultural environment, she developed a fusion of art styles. Larisa has a BA in Design & Art, 1993, from the University of Textile Industry (Tashkent, Uzbekistan), where she was on the costume design committee for the Independence Day Celebration of Uzbekistan in 1992, and a featured designer/participant in fashion shows at the University's Fashion Theater. Larisa arrived in the U.S. in 1995. Primarily an easel painter, she focuses on fantasy themes, illustrative ideas, and fashion sketches in acrylics, ink pen, oil pastels, color pencils, fabrics, faux finishes, or a combination for different effects. Many of her pieces are representations of feminine emotions, moods or characters. An accomplished muralist, her art has appeared in numerous galleries, private residences and commercial spaces. Larisa and her family reside in RI.

Renée Caouette has lived between Boston and Paris studying fine art and art history. Aesthetically, her work is influenced by her classical sensibilities and art historical background, developed throughout her studies and her travels throughout Europe and North America researching art work from the primitive to contemporary. Her paintings explore ubiquitous themes through the eyes of a millennial, such as identity, feminism, death, equality and addiction. As a professional female artist, Renée feels compelled to express the American/global zeitgeist and the world's expanding Diaspora. Grounded in realism and figurative narratives, her works are highly conceptual, expressing a subtle message. She has fused the symbolism of the northern renaissance, the grotesque, mysticism and contemporary performance arts into a body of work uniquely her own as a representational artist in a contemporary art world. In June 2016 she was awarded a grant by The Ringholz Foundation to fund her latest painting project, and invited to the Bakehouse Art Complex Residency Program during Miami Art Basel. She has exhibited throughout the US and France, including Paris, New York City, Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles. Last year she was invited to join both the Copley Society of Boston and the Salmagundi Club of NYC. Most recently, the muralist Kent Twitchell awarded her the “Patron Award” at the Brand Art Center's 43rd annual juried exhibition in Los Angeles, saying her work shows “devotion to the picture plane; she is not trying to jump on anyone's bandwagon", and "sincerity", rendering her work valuable and unique in the art world.

Sabina Mollot is an illustrator whose watercolors are fashion-inspired and often fairytale-infused. Her illustrations have been shown in New York at the National Arts Club and at Visual AIDS benefit shows. In New Jersey she has shown at Proto Gallery's Projects Studios, part of the Hoboken Art Walk, at LITM, Jersey City, and regularly at venues curated by ArtFront Galleries, a Newark-based nonprofit pop-up gallery operator. This is her first time exhibiting in Rhode Island.

Richard Bradley - "I've always had a fascination, as far back as I remember, with jewelry and all things sparkly. In my teenage years I started collecting vintage costume jewelry and my natural inclination was to explore how and where such beautiful objects were made. From working in design houses that opened in the 1930s and 40s I learned many of the old and lost techniques from some of the industries' 'old timers'. Today I’m a ten+-year veteran jewelry designer who enjoys inspiring others as well as exploring my own creative venues."