By Kelly Morgan- MA Fine Art
For years I have been saying; ‘I’m a Fine Art’s Artist first’, no matter what I was studying or practicing. There is an inherent need to make and to make it conceptually. As a recent AUB Costume and Performance Design graduate, and now enrolled of the MA Fine Art program, I have decided to take the transferable skills of custom garment making to forge a visual dialogue that will purposes questions surrounding the notions of the feminine ideal, women’s work, and gender roles.
Why clothing? Well, as individuals and collectively as a society clothing expresses ‘self’, in addition to social norms and constraints, making it an ideal medium for visual communication.
At present, I am exploring this dialogue through vintage mid-century hand embroidered tablecloths by transforming them into corsets.
Corsets, because their impact on women’s dress, the body, and way of life has been monumental. Linen, although embroidered cotton is not an unusual material for garment making, the re-appropriation of the material is essential to the discussion. The transformation of a laborious handmade item that dresses and protects the kitchen table, the household item a family gathers around to eat, into an item that restricts and sexualizes women is deliberate in provoking questions regarding gender norms and the expectations of female domestically.
The confines of ‘a woman’s place’ combined with the constant overwhelming social implications that a woman’s worth lies in her physical attributes are what inform my choices of execution and decision-making. Identity through attire, and the embodiment of social roles we dress the part for allow the corset, an item that aids in achieving the ideal female figure, to be an expression of how women are encouraged to become what we are not in a transform or die culture.