Drawing the Dress Collection An Artist's Perspective

Casey, Sarah Marie (2017) Drawing the Dress Collection An Artist's Perspective. In: Cloth Cultures, 2017-11-092017-11-11, Royal Ontario Museum.

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“It is tantalizing that it is generally impossible to do more than touch the surface and wonder what is underneath it” Dorothy K. Burnham, Cut My Cote, 1973 This paper presents my perspective as an artist who has used ‘close looking’ to draw dress artifacts and reinterpret those drawings into installation works. As such it builds upon Burnham’s legacy of drawing at the Royal Ontario Museum and offers insight into the use of drawing for researching artifacts. The paper is structured around case studies of projects undertaken with dress collections at Kensington Palace (2009-2013), The Bowes Museum (2013-2015), and most recently at Ryerson University Fashion Research Collection (2016). Examining these projects highlights issues around drawing’s capacity to record and communicate the feel, sense or emotional impact of seeing the garments, and the usefulness of drawing as a tool for capturing other sensory information alongside the visual. For instance, drawing is acknowledged as form of touching (Marden 1979, Derrida 1993, Godfrey 1992), able to synthesise multi- sensory experiences as well as information derived from textual research and imagination. In doing so the ‘slow approach to seeing’ is extended to encompass other senses. By considering drawing as an “archaeology of acts of touching” (Godfrey, 1992) or as means for “burrowing beneath the surface” (Berger 1992), a fresh approach to how we might think about getting beneath the surface of a garment, literally and metaphorically, is explored.

Item Type:
Contribution to Conference (Paper)
Journal or Publication Title:
Cloth Cultures
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Deposited On:
16 Apr 2018 13:58
Last Modified:
11 Sep 2023 12:03