|Odoriko, 2019, Cast Glass|
LaMonte's Kimono Series is the culmination of eight years of work. The project began with a seven month fellowship in Kyota studying all aspects of kimono production. As her work moved from the conceptual to the physical, LaMonte spent two residencies at the European Ceramics Work Center in the Netherlands developing new technology to create fabric texture and stitching in her work.
In many exhibits, the curator interprets and artist's work for the viewer. But for "Floating World," viewers have the chance to hear directly from LaMonte through wall cards and a video. One wall card contains this explanation about what drew to LaMonte create this series of work:
|Kabuki, 2018, Bronze|
In place of the West's preconception with the self, the Japanese idea of beauty and its relationship to individuality, the body and nudity highlights group-centered conformity.....In eliminating the defining curves of the female body, making it uniform and neutral, the kimono literally erases the self and individuality, transcending the corporeal beauty of the wearer. By putting on the kimono, one is assuming one's appropriate place in society: its language announces and reproduces that social role."
|Young Maiko, 2019, Cast Glass|
LaMonte shares her eventual interpretation of the concept.
"Mu is not a variant of the Western conception of nothingness or non-being. Rather it is an emptiness that contains all, the realm of enlightenment. Mu is the emptiness of the sky, which contains the universe.
Non-individualism is not non-existence; it is embedded in existence."
Given the non-individualist nature of the project, LaMonte decided against using live models for the creation of her casts. Instead, she used the measurements of a 50th percentile 40 year old Japanese woman in the year 2000. LaMonte considers these measurements both every woman and no woman.
Clay -- Humility
Glass -- Spirituality
Bronze -- Human Intention
Rust -- Transience
I am embarrassed to say that I was so taken with the sculptures that I didn't pay sufficient attention to the gorgeous silk kimonos on display. The good news is that the exhibit will run through the end of the year, so there's plenty of time for a repeat visit.
To watch a short video in which LaMonte discusses the project, click here. (It is six minutes well-spent.) For more images of the Kimono Series and LaMonte's other work, click here. And for information on Imagine Museum, click here. Trust me when I say that this is one exhibit you don't want to miss.