Gabrielle Rossmer

“What Do Girls Want?” addresses some of the questions raised by ‘fashion’. Rossmer is interested in fashion as a broad concept including the actual clothing we wear, the customs of the society in which those clothes are worn, and the metaphorical implications of their form. She examines how fashion is emblematic of its time and place, and how it can reference other times and places. Fashion can be dictated by arbiters who do or do not represent the interests and needs of wearers. It can represent ridiculous excesses…or it can represent eroticism, comfort, beauty, excitement, youth, elegance, individuality, foolishness, depravity. Fashion is complex.Fashion can strongly evoke memory as well, and in an earlier body of work, Rossmer molded oversized hanging dresses to embody the remembrance of earlier generations. The stiffened cloth dresses hung mutely in the air, garments with wearers that had disappeared. That body of work was holocaust-related family history. She continued to examine vernacular dress when she changed direction around 2000. At the time she wanted to utilize a very direct process which could respond to ideas quickly, and began modelling small painted clay figures. The figures included references to cultures and art works of the past which had interested her over decades of art making. Many of the figures were found to be more interesting when placed in groups that would broadly suggest conversations. Sometimes the pieces are re-grouped, resulting in different meanings. Rossmer is interested in transformations that are inherent in sculptural processes. In her most recent work, “Runway”, Rossmer casts figures in iron and clothes them in plaster. Casting from wax into iron involves steps of trans-formation; from positive to negative to positive; from soft to hard; from dark to light. The manikin-like figures are then clothed, using surgical plaster-gauze and plaster. The durable iron and the soft plaster are vulnerable to each other. Implicit in this interaction are questions of permanence. The iron will rust and these pieces will continue to change, or transform, over time.

  • Exhibition

  • September 29 - October 31, 2007

  • Program