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4/7 - 5/5 2023 at First City Pride Center

Opening Reception: 4/7 6-9 pm


Cleo the Gallery is pleased to present Garment Werk with work by artist Joseph E. Malson. 


“This exhibition is an exploration in the subversion of traditionally masculine work/utilitarian clothing. What happens when you take away the intended purpose of work garments and their perceived ‘masculinity’?


Many of these pieces’ original purpose as military workwear, designed for rough work environments and outdoor activities have been rendered impractical through the choice of material or embellishment while simultaneously not changing original design details, making them still wearable.


Is the garment’s value contingent on its utility if devoid of decoration or an awareness of aesthetics?

Displayed as a work of Fine Art, I’m asking the viewer to ask serious questions about what we put on our bodies, how they’re made and by whom, and if we can use garments to deconstruct hegemonic thinking

towards identity, gender and sexuality?”



Joseph E. Malson (b. Wilmington, NC) is a multi-disciplinary assemblage artist who works in found, thrifted, and donated materials. Typically Malson manipulates textiles through handiwork or piecework in combination with what may be called kitsch, or readily available media and objects in order to decontextualize their aesthetic and create new avenues of interpretation. Sometimes he recreates objects using these handcrafted methods, exploring the intersection of dichotomies between the mass-produced object and the handmade as well as the domestic and the fine art space.


Malson received a BFA in Fiber Art from Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. He has since completed a residency with Sulfur Studios in 2019 and exhibited at Courthouse Gallery in New York, Var Gallery in Wisconsin, and 39th Street Gallery in Maryland. He currently resides in Savannah, GA. / @joseph.e.malson

Photos by Jacob Herrera Wachal


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