Curated by Wayne Martin
Co-Curated by Jennifer Ridge
17 December 2018 – 22 March 2019
The Library, AUB
Ghostly White features a collection of dresses and head pieces made by BA (Hons) Costume and Performance Design students, based on female characters from Gothic literature.
The exhibition was realised from a lifelong interest in the genre of Gothic and the Macabre. Wayne was looking for a project that was both of interest and suitably challenging to the imaginations of Level 6 AUB Costume and Performance students.
The brief for Ghostly White was based on sixteen Gothic novels exploring characters who wore white and what the meaning of wearing a white garment portrayed in Gothic Literature.
When choosing which novels to work from the students looked at dresses from a number of time periods, the earliest being 1545, based on Horace Walpole’s, The Castle of Otranto, reputed to be the first real Gothic novel to Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations and the wonderfully eccentric Miss Havisham.
Students were encouraged to use their skills in Primary and Secondary research, exploring cut and construction techniques from varied periods in history whilst keeping within the parameters of the overall aesthetic of the piece. The back story behind some of the dresses is intriguing, unsavoury and sometimes controversial. In Lord Byron’s poem Astarte, the writer touches upon his alleged incestuous relationship with his half sister Augusta Leigh, and in Jane Eyre, Bertha Mason addresses her lunacy and the dowry attained on the back of slavery; and persecution in the backwaters of early 19th Century New Orleans.
The dresses on display are primarily made from a selection of donated fabrics from a curtain shop in Westbourne, Bournemouth. To create depth, students were asked to embroider, applique and stitch into the fabrics creating 3D sections of highly decorative embellishment. The students were deliberately given the briefest of line drawings from which to work, giving the opportunity to have a creative input in the designs.
On completion of the dress fabric, AUB graduate, Scott Hazell led a team of students in paint and dye techniques to paint into the dresses with tones of sepia and grey to add depth and heighten the ‘Gothic’ look of the costumes.
meet the curator/designer: wayne martin
Wayne Martin is the Senior Lecturer for BA (Hons) Costume and Performance Design at AUB. With a history of 20 years working in the theatre and film industry as a costume cutter and maker, Wayne has worked in many aspects of Dance, Opera and Musicals. Wayne’s particular interests lie in Historical Cutting and body sculpting through intricate cut and body shaping. For The Ancient Art of Rituals, Wayne has designed costumes suited for a form fitting look that will allow the audience to see the animalistic body movements of the dancers while keeping the original ideals and appearance of the Las Reglas de Congoreligion in Cuba who are the originators of the Palo Mayombe dance.
MEET THE co-CURATOR: JENNIFER RIDGE
Jennifer Ridge graduated from The Arts University Bournemouth’s BA (Hons) Costume with Performance Design course in 2011. Since graduating, Jennifer has travelled the world and the UK working in theatres on land and at sea in Wardrobe.
As a Wardrobe Mistress, Jennifer has worked with theatres such as Salisbury Playhouse and The Watermill, touring their theatre productions around the UK. As a Wardrobe Assistant, she has also worked for The Royal Shakespeare Company, Glyndebourne and Chichester Festival Theatre, where she was a personal Dresser to Omid Djalili in Fiddler on the Roof and Sir Ian McKellen in King Lear.
THEGALLERY AND AUB
TheGallery works with courses right across the university on a variety of exhibitions, events and projects. Ghostly White is another example of one of these projects that we have worked on with the curator and students. When working on a collaborative project, we provide advice and support for the curatorial and technical aspects of the exhibition, as well as advice on event and project management.
TheGallery provides a national and international public platform for the arts within the sub-region as we promote the University’s shared passion for excellence in education, industry and the sector. The BA (Hons) Costume and Performance Design course is a clear example of this as we provide students with key insights into the industry to develop their skills.
BA (HONS) COSTUME AND PERFORMANCE DESIGN
On the BA (Hons) Costume and Performance Design course, you’ll discover how to create whole new worlds. As well as technical skill, you’ll learn that great design depends on your ability to interpret ideas as the course places emphasis on conceptual work.
As you progress, your developing practice will be informed by digital and haptic drawing techniques and processes. Your ongoing professional transferable skills will be supported by collaboration, and you will go onto contextualise your drawing practice with curatorial projects.
Shelley Frankenstein Festival
The Shelley Frankenstein Festival was established to celebrate the life and works of the Shelley family, some of whom lived in the Boscombe / Bournemouth area and many of whom are buried in Bournemouth.
AUB is marking the 200th anniversary of the publication of Frankenstein with a season of plays to celebrate its author Mary Shelley. As part of the celebration, TheGallery are working with BA (Hons) Costume and Performance Design to exhibit a collection of pieces inspired by Gothic Literature of the 20th Century.