Artwork of the Week: October 31

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Karen LaMont, Dress Impression with Train

Karen LaMonte, (American, born 1967), Dress Impression with Train. Hollow female sculpture cast in colorless soda-lime glass in four pieces; sandblasted and acid polished, designed 2005, cast 2007. 58 ¼ in x 22 ½ in x 43 ¼ in. Purchased with funds from the Libbey Endowment, Gift of Edward Drummond Libbey, by exchange, 2008.148. Glass Pavilion, Gallery 1

Haunting and evocative, Dress Impression with Train is also a technical tour-de-force. Karen LaMonte cast a model’s body in wax to make a mold for the interior of her sculpture. She then dressed the hollow mold in an evening gown and cast it in glass to create a ghostly, translucent, “empty” dress. LaMonte chose to cast these ambitious forms because, as she explains, “Apparel radiates its wearer’s physicality like a discarded shell or an outermost layer of skin. It is our second skin, our social skin.” This “social skin” carries messages about historical notions of ideal beauty, about social status, and about the body-controlling and body-distorting aspects of fashion. The female form, in LaMonte’s sculpture, is literally defined by what it wears.

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