By Kelly Morgan – MA Fine Art
My first tablecloth corset comes to completion, I have been exploring methods of presentation. I find that the manner in which the garment, or any art for that matter, is displayed can be vital in aiding or hindering the content of the form. Because I want to express the functionality of the garment to encourage the idea that it is wearable, and something one might put on, it needs to have some dimension. I intend to explore the use of mannequins, however, I wanted to be a little more resourceful, so I considered my materials.
Being that my ideas surround women, my materials contain connotations of historical gender roles. My use of corsets evokes previous ideals of class, gender, oppression, the body, the modified, all the while implicating a sexual element. Then the use of tablecloths is thrown into the mix. There is something visually interesting about using embodied fabric that a woman (perhaps typically a ‘housewife’) has slaved away to create; using it to adorn and restrict her physically, paralleling restrictions in gender roles. What else could I use to provoke questions about gender? How can I get the ‘why doesn’t this feel out of place?’ vibe across, as I am using two things that come from very much the same world?
I started touring the idea and use of ‘burnt bread’ in my practice because I thought it would be beneficial to incorporate a juxtaposition. I liked the unusual aesthetic quality that prompts the viewer with the feeling that something is not right. Cooking, a domestic role historically projected as female, could entail baking bread. If the bread is burnt she has failed at her role, and by extension failed to meet gender expectations. Alternatively, it could be read as a rejection of her role by intentionally burning and displaying the bread. At present, my conclusion is a burnt bread hanger in which the corset can be hung up on.