Sunday, March 6, 2011

March 6, 2011, Cupcake

It is snowing outside again.  Cupcake hangs on the rack.  I am a third of the way done with this project. 
Cupcake Cupcake Cupcake.  What a girl.  Frilly, lacy, soft and powerfully seductive.  She brought people to her with her flowing skirts and lacy necklines. Part party frock, part pinafore, part can can dancer, part carnevale.... she was a mysterious and reclusive dress.  What secrets does she hide under those layers?
Cupcake is made of several old trapunto pieces I had made years back to hang on a wall.  She started out already having shape and body but truly to my surprise changed into a confection of sorts.  She made me wish I was a lady of performance and illusion a Blanche Dubois, an Olympia, a Satine, a Mary Pickford.  I covered her neckline this time with lace and part of a vintage handkerchief a dear friend donated for the project.  I embellished her with lace, lace and lace from another marvelous donor.  As the days here in Vermont fluctuate between warmer and colder, rain and snow, mud and ice, Cupcake has taken a bit of a beating in the washing machine trying to stay semi-clean.  There are still some paint stains from when I was teaching winter break Art Extraveganza camp to kids 5-11.  There are unmended tears and rips adding to the reality that the surface of Cupcake is not all that it seems.  She is a beautiful dress.  I do however, wish I had more time to take her further, but I guess that is just part of the growing pains with this project. 
A friend, artist Noah Krell ( recently posted a really interesting question on Facebook that I have been thinking about for a day now.  It is for part of his thesis.  The question asked...
"sexualization (and subsequent regulation) of human touch in relation to concepts of individualism. Are they related? did one spur on the other? Or are they both responses to something else? Discuss."
This got me thinking about touch and response and surface and depth and the variance between touch and emotion. 
I posted this as a thought in response:
"There is something very close here that I address in my own art and that is the challenge of the veneer, to go beyond the surface to reach some place deeper, but touch literally exists on the surface and yet ripples past the veneer into something emotional. I think people are more comfortable with staying on the surface, but generally uncomfortable when touch lingers manifesting into meaning... what does it mean when I put on a dress that has a lot of lace and texture and then all of a sudden all the people who have boundary issues want to touch me? I am still trying to find the answer even in my own daily performance."
I have thought more and more about this and it all comes down to that boundary or the illusion of the boundary.  Illusion is a powerful thing.  Even with my new circus obsession I keep going back to the notion that it is the illusion that comp ells people to go to the circus in the first place.  Is it that people want to be fooled?  Is touch another way for people to seek out truth? You hug a friend because you want them to know how much you care about them, you touch a dog because it makes you and the dog happy, you hold your lover because it reaffirms that they are yours...  hmmm an interesting idea and a great discussion...
So this is the last day with Cupcake.  I am sitting on my couch feeling incredibly satisfied.  I am excited about tomorrow.  I have 4 dresses laid out ready to go. Will they all be apart of the new dress at once, or little by little?  I guess it depends on how I feel tomorrow morning when I get up.

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