“Reclining Dress Impression with Drapery” (2009) Karen LaMonte

Trompe-l’œil is a sort of visual sleight of hand.  With great skill an artist can paint a canvas so that it looks like a framed picture, or a shelf or a window.  Such a trick invites you too look closer and question your expectations.  Karen LaMonte’s “Reclining Dress Impression with Drapery” is a beautiful expression of such artistic skill in an unexpected medium.  She has cast rigid and fragile glass to appear as liquid and supple satin.  And it is no dress on a hanger – you can easily see the intimate creases and folds where the woman’s body would be – if it were there.  Which it is not – why not?  The dress reclines alone in the artistic posture usually reserved for objectified nudes.

“I am not a feminist, I am pro-feminine,” she declared in an interview with the Smithsonian American Art Museum, “The works are in no way objectifying the female body but celebrating it.”

This piece is on display at the Renwick Gallery which is part of the Smithsonian.  You can see Karen LaMonte speak about the piece here and visit her website here.

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