Katharine Renee Gaudy , Brittle, 2015; wedding gown and plaster, 62 x 16 5/8 x 5 inches; Collection of Burchfield Penney Art Center, Purchased with funds from Deb Abgott, Jim and Joy Brandys, and Scott Propeack, 2016
Gaudy provided this text in connection with her sculpture:
If I say to you “brittle”, what do you think of?
What makes that brittle?
Is it not, that it is both hard and fragile. Is not marriage both these things, of course the connotation has changed. Hard and fragile are transformed from describing the physical to the emotional. To articulate the narrow border of the duality of mind and body.
In my working, I often play dualities against each other in order to navigate into the 'gray' area. We expect that a gust of wind would move the cloth, for it retains the superficial appearance of fabric.
Plaster is a binder, it contains, it is contained, in its borders it touches. Here the plaster makes brittle the dress. It makes the dress malfunction as something to contain a body and in that containment raise a body to a symbol.
“Lift the dress and place it on the floor!”
It will not fold onto itself, it no longer can be thrown into the hamper and take on the shape of the container. It is hardened and can be laid at an angle to the wall. It defies its original laws, its gravity, its definition.
I am not married but this was my first wedding dress, purchased from a second-hand store because it fit my body to a tee and is so classic a representation of the fashion for matrimony. I bought it because it was curious to me for being a specimen that is becoming extinct. That the way I live as a woman would have been unthinkable to my grandmother and even to my mother. Often represented in my work are objects once prescribed as feminine labor (jello molds, clothing, ceramics and craft). My intent with these associations is not one of nostalgia but to hold a microscope to the evolution of these constructed things and also to make them foreign. To make 'things', objects of unknown origin.