Mary Wells, Untitled

I was immediately attracted to the elegance of Helen Storey’s work and her ability to address such intimidating subjects. The ‘Dress For Our Time’ has a balance of elegant simplicity and power. In my amateur art practice I wanted to experiment with this delicate balance when making a piece in response to the Helen Storey archive.

I was also drawn to how the presentation of her work has transitioned from the fashion industry to the art world. The fashion designs, catwalks and photo shoots showed a continuous stream of female models. As the work has transitioned there has been more focus on the work and the figure has been maintained in the shape of the pieces, but the person has become ghost-like with the suspended pieces hovering in front of a white backdrop. I have been pushing and questioning the line between art and fashion. How does fashion function in a white cube gallery space? When does fashion become sculpture? Why don’t my lecturers seem to like me making ‘clothes’ on my Fine Art degree?!

A dress, like many other objects associated with the feminine, naturally provokes graceful concepts. I tried to balance the femininity evoked from the dress-like features, with the power the colour red evokes in both the conscious and subconscious. To reinforce the balance I elongated the dress to intimidate the audience, against the light viscose fabric enhancing the delicate and feminine side to the piece.