glassine, vellum, mylar, thai muilberry paper, Rives BFK, masa rice paper, bookbinding thread
The series soma/sema explores the bitter dichotomies of control and entropy that are manifested through the act of self-erasure. The hollow dress forms evoke absence of the visceral being. A subtle melancholy emerges from the abandoned structures that form the “architecture of the body” which is meant to protect and contain. Ordered, pure, familiar; the dresses disintegrate into drooping tendrils and weightless combs that disrupt their idealized form. Constructed with variations of white paper instead of fabric, the fragility of the forms makes the possibility of wearing them absurd without ensuring their destruction. Paper, as opposed to the soft, welcoming embrace of fabric, acts as a confining second skin.
Cutting away at the form is an overt and a violent form of erasure, and the tedious repetition that can be seen as an obsessive, ritualized self-control. The structure of the dress form begins to collapse and undulate with the density of hand wrought mutilation. Patterns that are cut into the paper represent long term physiological effects of eating disorders, which create growing cavities in the paper form just as they do in bodily tissue. These effects include the deterioration of heart muscle, liver autophagy, and osteoporosis. Indifferent scientific imagery makes tangible the experience of self-extirpation and the degradation of corporeal architecture on a cellular scale.
The delicate dress forms arouse a bitter facet of the feminine experience, which is confined by the ubiquitous social demand for moral piety and physical perfection. Yet, regardless of identity, we all grapple with a universal pain inherent in a body that cannot bend to the will of the mind.