FASHION FROM FICTION: Romance Novel Dresses by Carrie Ann Schumacher
Jan 15, 2016 — May 14, 2016
Carrie Ann Schumacher explores the relationship between fictional, romanticized representations of women in romance novels and the real-life experiences of women in society today. Working as both an artist and a university instructor in Chicago, Schumacher draws upon popular culture, fashion and the romantic literary genre to highlight the objectifying effect they have on women's identity. By melding the materials and forms of these social influences into her own sculptures and giving them meaning through titles of personal significance, the artist invites us to imagine the individuals who might wear these dresses.
This installation of dresses and head-dresses made from the pages of romance novels highlights the duality of women's visibility as influenced by representations
in mass media and the invisibility that results from this objectification. Rather than designing the dress in advance, Schumacher draws inspiration
from the pages of fashion magazines and sculptural form as well as from the materiality of paper and the process of folding, wrapping and gluing. Working
directly on a mannequin to establish the overall form, she glues pages together like a fabric--no stitching or stapling is used. Each dress is a unique
sculptural form, removable but not wearable, with fragments of text sometimes strategically and suggestively placed in relationship to the body.