Marshall Fredericks Museum hosts ‘Floating World’

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The Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum is hosting Karen LaMonte’s “Floating World” exhibition through Dec. 16.

The exhibition consists of 16 sculptures of kimonos made of cast glass, ceramic, rusted iron and bronze.

The kimonos were inspired by wabi-sabi, an aesthetic philosophy of impermanence, asymmetry and simplicity, and mu, the Buddhist concept of nothingness.

“I use dresses and drapery to sculpt the body in absentia. It evokes mortality,” LaMonte said.

In Japan, the kimono is the focus of the attention rather than the individual wearing it. LaMonte sized her sculptures to fit the average 40-year-old Japanese woman. Doing so permitted her to create an “exact everywoman or no woman” who could fit into her kimono sculptures.

The material each sculpture is made of is representative of different things. Clay represents humility, glass represents spirituality, bronze means human intention and rust means transience.

LaMonte studied at the Rhode Island School of Design and previously made glass sculptures of Western dress before submerging herself into Eastern culture.

She lived in Kyoto, Japan, for seven months to learn about kimonos, and she took many back to her studio in the Czech Republic to use in making molds for 250 sculptures.

The museum hosted a noontime “Brown Bag Lecture” Nov. 15 on the “Floating World” exhibition. A short informational video about the exhibit is also available for museum-goers at any time at the exhibit.

Those who attended were encouraged to bring a lunch to eat while they listened to the presentation. The lecture was given by Andrea Ondish, the museum’s curator of education.

There were two parts to the presentation. The first part was a presentation on LaMonte, and the second part was a tour of the exhibition.

While touring the gallery, Ondish informed attendees about the artwork and answered any questions they had.

Ondish said she plans to host more next semester.

“We’re always trying to have new programs at the museum,” Ondish said. “I thought, ‘Why not set aside a lecture at lunchtime every time we have a new exhibition?’”

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