Through assemblage and juxtaposition, Troy Montes-Michie (b. 1985) engages black consciousness, Latinx experience, immigration and queerness. Utilizing textiles, garments and archival paper, from newsprint to pornography, Montes-Michie subvert dominant narratives by placing past and present in confrontation. Referencing a rule of camouflage known as “disruptive patterning” which works by breaking up the outlines of an object with a strongly contrasting pattern, Montes-Michie investigates the ways in which bodies of marginalized communities are frequently erased and fetishized. In his ongoing series entitled, When You Look At Me, You Only See My Surroundings — a reference to Ralph Ellison’s 1952 novel, Invisible Man — Montes-Michie uses the zoot suit to draw connections between the process of garment production to the act of creating self-identity. Originating in 1930s Harlem, the flashy, roomy style became a nationwide phenomenon among American communities of color and was ultimately targeted in the chaos of the Los Angeles Zoot Suit Riots of 1943. For Montes-Michie, this disruptive history is a critical reminder of the ways in which self-fashioning can both affirm and disguise aspects of race, class, and gender.
Montes-Michie holds a BFA from the University of Texas at El Paso and an MFA from Yale School of Art. His works has recently been included in exhibitions at the Institute for Contemporary Art (Richmond), The MAC (Belfast), The Shed (NY), The Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Contemporary Art Museum (Houston). He is a Lecturer in the Visual Arts Program at Princeton University.