A polyester wedding gown and fragments of children’s frilly dresses become works of art in an exhibition by Shelly Goldsmith this month.
Dresses for Giants will go on show between September 10-17 at ACS Margate, Unit 11-15 All Saints Industrial Estate, Margate.
Shelly uses the psychological theory ‘Locus of Control’ to understand how we locate our sense of self. Developed in 1954 by the American psychologist Julian B. Rotter, ‘Locus of Control’ is the extent to which people believe that they – as opposed to external forces – have control over the outcome of events that happen in their lives.
In collaboration with clinical psychologist Dr. Herminia Hernaiz-Sanders, Goldsmith uses the inside and outside of the dress as independent canvases for her art.
Goldsmith uses frantic pencil drawings loaded with deep graphite, digital photography and whole garment dye-sublimation prints to transform her materials.
Goldsmith has documented her parents’ adopted hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio through research at Ohio’s community libraries and newspaper archives, producing documentary photographs of its infamous 1974 Super Outbreak, the biggest incident ever recorded of 10 tornadoes simultaneously soaring across the ground and then applied line drawings and swathes of ink to pieces of children’s clothing.
Her work Is also Inspired by a walk along the Thanet coastline and photographs of the 1937 Walpole Bay Tidal Pool saturate the inside of a series of dress fragments.
A key part of exhibition amalgamates tidal pool photographs and two 1970s polyester wedding dresses bought in Cincinnati. Large in physical scale, the title refers to the personalities of the individuals who wear the dress, not their physical size. Using graphite, photography and dye-sublimation the dress becomes a canvas.
Ramsgate-based artist Shelly Goldsmith’s practice explores the evocative force of cloth and conscience. An RCA alumnus and recipient of the prestigious Jerwood Prize in 2002, Goldsmith uses fragments of archetypal women’s dress and large-scale textile installations to convey themes of identity, fragility, and psychological transition.
Her work is exhibited at major galleries and museums in Britain, Europe, USA and Japan and is part of many notable public collections including the Victoria & Albert Museum and The Whitworth Gallery.
ACS Margate gallery Is open from 11am-6pm each day of Dresses for Giants.