19 April 2011


The rows of delicate knit dress sculptures line the walls of Melinda Le Guay's dining room, a space that doubles as her studio. In her home shared with her family, Le Guay painstakingly creates the ethereal sculptures for her upcoming solo exhibition, 'Conflict' on view starting the 10th of May. Surrounded by her art, one could say that she literally lives, eats and breathes her work day in and day out.

There will be 10-12 works in the exhibition for which Le Guay has created around 20 dress forms using recycled wire and thread, some of which she has then coloured red or yellow. Each work will start with a base dress form that is then wrapped with gauze that she may have stained blue or an orange-pink with an iodine solution. Over the gauze, additional dresses will be layered creating depth and density.

In her previous exhibitions, Le Guay used paper as her medium - drawing on it, sewing it by hand or machine and by using the paper itself, gathering it in repetitive lines and designs. These earlier works alluded to foot binding, female corsetry and the like - some of the physical methods used in the control of women across the ages and among different cultures.

However in this series Le Guay employs simple, hand knitted dresses as the ideal form to describe the domestic. Furthering her investigation into the repetitiveness of 'women's work,' she uses the process of knitting - often considered a nurturing activity associated with femininity - but uses wire instead of the soft material expected. Through the use of wire, she introduces a conflict between protection and exposure in the seemingly simply beautiful dresses. Le Guay uses the wire to give the dress structure and to create an armour-like garment of protection but at the same time it also displays an ethereal translucency through the gaps in the wire which may in turn expose the wearer to danger.

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