Listen as curator, Tina Oldknow, describes “Evening Dress with Shawl” by American artist Karen LaMonte. The artist’s hauntingly beautiful female figures evoke the fragmented bodies of classical antiquity and the pristine statues of 19th-century American neoclassicism. By using colorless cast glass rather than opaque marble, LaMonte gives her images a sense of ghostliness, and also spirituality. Her focus on the dress, always lifesize, reflects changing notions of beauty in contemporary society.
Casting glass on such a large scale is difficult. LaMonte gradually increased the size of her sculptures over several years. Wanting to make lifesize images, she moved from New York to the Czech Republic, and she now works in Železný Brod. LaMonte uses herself, friends, art students, and people she meets as models for the interiors of her sculptures. The process of moldmaking is complex, since separate castings and wax models are made of the bodies and the clothing. The final, hollow casting in glass articulates the interior and exterior forms.