Dress.Rehearsal?

Installation of 22 photographs and Excel spreadsheet wallpaper. Accompanying blog. 2006, Tag Projects “Growing Up in Public” at Repetti Gallery, Queens, NY

This project is an excavation of personal history through clothing, and features photographs of eight women modeling clothes that I wore when I was their age. The exhibition was constructed around projects that would “grow up” over the course of the one-month show. The photographs in Dress.Rehearsal? already had a lot to do with growing up, and the blog served as a venue in which the project could live and grow – with posts from myself and others – during the time of the exhibition. The blog is no longer live, but the photographs and project statement are available.

Project Statement, September 3, 2006
Clothing carries with it both personal memories and the cultural DNA of its time. We absorb something called “fashion,” personalize it via our own wardrobe, and then carry it along to share our experiences, recycling it back into the public domain. Our clothes form a kind of connective tissue, reaching from our own bodies out into the world, advertising something about who we are and how we see ourselves at a particular point in time. Something of what we are in the world is mixed up with what we aspire to be, and we are able, however fleetingly, to embody many different potentialities.

In Dress.Rehearsal? my wardrobe is used as a means to resuscitate personal history – to dredge up memories, ambitions, and desires and pull them into the present to be shared with one and all. Photos depicting various women wearing 30 years of my clothes are displayed in the gallery and also in a blog, where the public is invited to add their own photos and commentary. A spreadsheet documenting every article of clothing I owned at the time the photos were taken forms a backdrop to the gallery display. The photos and spreadsheet came about as the direct result of a move during which I did not want to pack up, hoist, and unpack all my clothes (again). But behind the entire project is a strong interest in interrogating memory and an ambivalence about how to interpret the passing of time.

In this sense Dress.Rehearsal? flows from my other work, which often develops out of contradiction and frequently engages the viewer in a moment of ambivalence. For example, in The Green Scent of Pink, the “green” smell of grass provides a strong sensory contrast to the pink light infusing the room. Other sculptural and installation work is constructed from metal, wood, plastics, plaster, and various fibers. By using atypical combinations of these materials and by conflating organic and inorganic as well as representational and minimalist styles, these pieces trigger a multitude of associations. These objects are actively and intentionally multivalent, supporting my goals of engaging memory and encouraging uncertainty in the viewer.

The models in these photos range in age from 16 to 45. Each is shown in clothing that I wore when I was their age, held onto since, and gave away once these photos were taken.