Clothing as Metaphor
Exploring the human condition and social interaction is the basis for my artwork. Vehicles used to express these personal observations have been printmaking, photography, photo image transfer, and construction of three dimensional objects from appropriated materials.
Due to an interest in people, their interaction with each other and the environment, reference to figurative imagery has always been a focus for my art. From painting I moved to a three dimensional method of exploration which has taken the form of non-functional clothing. This clothing has become a metaphor for the human body and a vehicle with which to explore the human condition and social interaction.
Like figurative art, clothing is a form of visual fiction. Clothes are connective links in a creative tradition of image making. They are illusion, masquerade, idealized visualization of the human body. Clothing communicates social status, occupation, personality, hides flaws, arouses feelings, acts as a barrier or buffer from the environment, is a second skin. Clothing announces identity.
Appropriated, found and non-traditional materials are used to create these artworks. A menopause dress created from ice gel packs and installed in a refrigerator, a man’s business shirt created from business cards , and a smoking jacket from chest X-rays are just a few examples of such artworks. The artworks explore paradox and irony.
Humour is an important component in the work, sometimes not immediately apparent but often a result of the transformation of the viewer’s visual perception which occurs during closer interaction with the artworks. Found images also are used in my work and are paired in Polaroid photo image transfers with unlikely clothing imagery creating a different and sometimes provocative context for the found images.
Other non-traditional fabrications of clothing include constructions using stuffed animals and clothing built from soft metals such as steel wool and copper pot scrubbers. These items of clothing are symbols for social identity. Tongue-in-cheek titles will allow the viewer access-through humour-to deeper levels of social commentary. Often there is a slight edge to the piece that when discovered stimulates thought and public dialogue.
By constructing clothing I am able to explore different aspects of social identity. This is an ongoing interest and usually results in new works each year based on this method of exploration.