Dressing the Art

Artsy Editorial
Jan 2, 2014 3:17PM

From elaborately-woven jacquards in Northern Renaissance art, to Princess Margarita’s iconic frock, to iridescent Impressionist gowns, masterful paintings of alluring dresses are sprinkled throughout the history of art. Contemporary artists continue to devote a wealth of attention to their subjects’ elegant and eccentric attire, often to such an extent that art and fashion become intertwined.

Often excluding the heads of her subjects, Anne Marie Kornachuk paints dramatic, Baroque-inspired images of formal dresses, transforming them into reflective, abstracted objects in motion. Assessing the constrictive, uncomfortable qualities of the formal dress, and often the wedding dress, her images quite literally shake up the societal expectations that such dresses recall.

Similarly focused on the dress itself, Charles Waller also employs wedding dresses, adhering actual antique garments to his canvases to create Magritte-inspired surreal images that are meant to convey humor. Adrienne Stein also appeals to the materiality of the dress, applying actual lace to her canvas in Apparition, creating an ethereal gown that matches the fantastical scene’s dark beauty.

In her surrealistic scenes of young women and children, Margo Selski creates dresses that serve as canvases within the canvas. Between a long pleated dress covered in eyes, a spherical skirted dress that doubles as a globe, and a voluminous dress depicting an underwater aquarium, Selski’s dresses alone are accomplishments in their own right.

Explore more artists from Richard J Demato Fine Arts on Artsy.

Artsy Editorial
Get the Artsy app
Download on the App StoreGet it on Google Play
Jenna Gribbon, Luncheon on the grass, a recurring dream, 2020. Jenna Gribbon, April studio, parting glance, 2021. Jenna Gribbon, Silver Tongue, 2019