The back story: So much goes into bringing an idea to fruition. Hours of pondering, reading, and selecting/searching for the very right combination of colour, imagery and found objects to bring a story together on a 2-D surface. So, here is the story of The Weekend Dance (SOLD) ( mixed media on board with found object embellishments), a triptych ( 3 panels) featured in my exhibit When She Was Bad...now showing at the Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design until July 22nd, 2011.
In creating The Weekend Dance (Get your glad rags on!) I was inspired by the contrast between our Saturday night and Sunday morning behaviours, vintage photos from postcards, as well as two tales of deadly apparel: The Red Shoes, a work of fiction by Hans Christen Anderson, and the true story of a stunning ball gown made of arsenical green tarlatan.
The girl in Anderson’s tale wore her red shoes everywhere, and they were perceived as evidence of her vanity. Once cursed, the shoes took control of their owner’s feet. The shoes forced the girl to dance until she died from exhaustion after she boldly wore them to church.
The 1862 documented gown was made for a socialite’s ball using a shining green imported textile. The twenty yards of fabric was dyed with a compound of arsenic and contained about 900 grains of the poison. While its owner danced, the dress scattered a dusting of arsenic about the ballroom making many of the guests ill and poisoning the wearer as she twirled about the floor.
The subject in The Weekend Dance (Get your glad rags on!) is dressed in a fetching green frock and red shoes, ready for Saturday night. She hopes the weekend will bring something exciting and new. She throws off the shackles of the mundane and hurls herself into the dance with abandon; her red shoes move her through the hours. She will knowingly take risks tonight; she will be reckless and perhaps self-destruct in the complete surrender of her inhibitions.
Things will look very different in the harsh Sunday morning light and she will feel a tinge of guilt. As the workweek begins she will start looking forward to its end, and once the weekend arrives she will do the dance again. She is compelled to.